It’s rare that I don’t finish a book. Even if I don’t like it, I’ll plod through to the end to see if it at least had a satisfying ending. Or perhaps it gets so awful that I can go off on a rant that amuses me, if no one else.
I abandoned Little, Big. 538 pages. I slogged my way through 209 and then I couldn’t do it any more.
Frustratingly, this is a book that I should like. It’s all about folklore and I love folklore. I love modern faerie tales. I love when the faerie world crosses over into ours.
But I did not like this book.
The main reason I had to toss it was because there is no conflict. Zero. Nothing. The main characters all know they are part of The Tale. Things happen because they happen. If you get upset…well, you can’t get upset because it’s part of The Tale. Apparently the conflict is that there isn’t going to be any conflict.
A really serious thing happens between three of the characters. It’s Really Serious. Like someone should at least get punched in the head serious. But it doesn’t happen. The person who was wronged knows it’s part of The Tale and immediately begins to redefine her life with the new information.
Who does that? Even the most enchanted princess is going to throw a hissy fit from time to time.
Maybe it gets better. I just did not care.
Instead, I picked up The Plucker.
Oh my god, this book is good. This is a faerie tale. This is a bedtime story for fantastic young’uns. This is a book that creeped me out just enough that I had to peek my eyes open a few times during the night, just to make sure…
Pixar didn’t invent the idea of toys coming to life when their child isn’t around. We all knew this happened before Woody and Buzz showed up.
Our book starts with poor Jack being sent under the bed. Thomas doesn’t want to play with him anymore, so out of sight he goes. He is heartbroken, especially when the other toys shun him at night. Thomas goes to sleep and they come out to play. But Jack must stay away.
Until the Plucker shows up.
Thomas’ father brings a spirit warden back from Africa. He thinks it will be a good protector for Thomas and keep the scary dreams away. The problem is, he doesn’t know this spirit warden is actually made from a spirit and the spirit is evil. And pissed. The doll breaks open and the Plucker escapes.
Everything about this book is adventure and heroes. Jack must decide if he’s worthy of the quest to save Thomas. The other toys must decide if they will follow. Jack is given gifts but questions if he can use them. Will he ever be good enough? Is Thomas even worth saving? Why should he care about the other toys, even Angel. Beautiful Angel.
Naughty language, amazing artwork, scary parts, voodoo and hoodoo… this isn’t for those prone to nightmares.
I loved it.
I’m glad I didn’t read it when I was 10.