I taught a Myths, Monsters, & Shakespeare class for nine years, so I am always looking for great reads that go along with that class. This was recommended to me by my favorite bookseller at B&N. She is usually right about what I like, and this novel is no exception.
Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library, a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That's where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White's stepmother's sinister mirror that talks in riddles.
When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime, or captured by the thief.
Polly Shulman has created a contemporary fantasy with a fascinating setting and premise, starring an ordinary girl whose after-school job is far from ordinary, and leads to a world of excitement, romance and magical intrigue.
The plot of this novel really speaks to me. As someone who has just completed an MLIS degree, the idea of working in a specialized library that houses the objects from Grimm tales sounds like a dream job. Not only that, but to have a chance to check those items out? Oh my! For this reason alone I loved, loved, loved this book.
The strength with this novel is the cleverness in not only the developing of the plot but also the characters. From Elizabeth's trusting in others made her endearing for me because that is the hardest gift to give, and she was a character who willingly wanted to trust those around her. Whether or not that was a wise decision, well, I'll leave that to the reader to decide.
The adventure element of this story sold me wholeheartedly. It made this novel worth every page I devoured. And reader, beware - trust nothing that you read while reading the novel. As with all great fairy tales, things are not as they appear to be. Okay, now I'm just being melodramatic, but it was fun, even for a moment. In truth, buckle your seat belt because this will be a bumpy ride - magic carpet and all. Okay, the magic carpet ride isn't really bumpy, but you get the point, right?
This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys fairy tales, fractured tales, and/or adventure stories. A great book for reluctant male readers.
Have you read this novel? If so, I would love to hear what you thought. Other fractured tale suggestions?