“… the round towers of the castles looked as if they were so firmly encrusted in the sky that, to get to their other side, one would have to hew out a passage through the celestial marble.”
Rating: 3 stars
Read: 18 December – 22 December, 2018
I had to write a little review of this book for my blog. I first heard about this book on my Twitter feed, after this new edition was printed, and Neil Gaiman was raving about it. It sounded like my kinda story. And it was. It totally was. But it wasn’t my favourite, but we’ll get into that.
It’s a 1920s classics, and is about the influx of a forbidden fairy fruit that has been turning people into violent and uncontrollable nuisances. Master Nathaniel’s son has been one of the victims, and he is packed off to a farm near the borders of Fairyland, but something is amiss.
I definitely think this is underrated. It’s such an interesting fantasy, with many whimsical and enchanting elements to it. The world of Lud-in-the Mist, including the river Dapple, the river Dawl, and the land of Dorimare, was depicted so brilliantly. I could easily imagine them in my head, and could map the paths to each. The characters were really drawn up to their full potential, and I loved following Masters Nathaniel on his journey to rescue his son.
More importantly, Mirrlees’s writing was so lyrical. I was quickly swept away by it, and found myself flying through the pages. I couldn’t put it down because the writing had captured me from the very beginning. This is all I want from a fantasy: a good world, interesting characters, and a narrative that I can find myself lost in. Mirrlees delivered it all.
…and yet she didn’t.
It’s weird. Everything on the surface was perfect, but I found the plot lacking. There wasn’t really anything to it but fruit turning people crazy and Nathaniel trying to combat it. It was a very generic plot – one that I’ve seen time and time again, albeit not in this context, but the very idea was quite overdone. I felt like some subplots could have been added to make it a little more interesting. I found it quite slow at times, but I don’t know whether this was because I was overly tired or not. I think I’ll have to try it again in the future, and see if my initial impressions alter.
How gorgeous is this edition, though? Does it sound like a book you’d be interested in? Let me know – I’d love to have a chat about it!
Thanks for reading, Lauren X