3 out of 4 stars
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Wanted: A dark, twisty fairy tale with questionable situations, violence (but not gore), and odd characters and places that really make the reader wonder.
The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot’s Encounters by Micah Genest applied, and the position has been filled.
Harlot, a young girl who is extremely innocent, finds herself in the Land of Ick and Eck, a strange place where nothing is as it seems. This tale follows her journeys with a Ground Faerie, a Wood and Water Nymph, and a Butter-Maiden as the foursome travels from forest to garden to field and back again. They will meet the oddest characters and travel the most bizarre routes. But where will they end up? And will they like it there?
This book’s description promised odder versions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Brothers Grimm stories, and The Wizard of Oz. The book didn’t disappoint. I clearly saw the parallels drawn from the classic tales. Harlot reminded me of Alice in ways. Her companions were reminiscent of Dorothy’s fellows, and Grimm influence was everywhere. For those wanting to dive into a world that borrows from these stories but also offers something new in its own right, this is the book to read.
While much of the content within is similar to that of children’s books, this is not for kids. The innuendos are a bit too forward, and the violence (while not severe) may trouble young or sensitive readers. It didn’t necessarily bother me, but neither did it really speak to me. This book fell a bit too far left of center for my taste. That said, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s one of the best-edited books I’ve read in a long time (I noticed not one error). The writing, though, is purposefully circuitous. Rhyme, alliteration, repetition, and other literary devices are used liberally. There also seemed to be less of a cohesive start-to-finish plot and more of a wandering sense. If this is the kind of style that bothers you, you may wish to skip this book.
I rate The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot’s Encounters 3 out of 4 stars. I really wanted to give it 4, but I just didn’t get into it enough. I never thought to rate it less than 3. Those who are not easily offended or disturbed would very much enjoy this. As I said, the violence is minimal, and there are hints of sexual content. Nothing is described in detail, and there is no cursing to speak of. I still recommend this book only for adults, partly because children may not grasp all the complexities. It’s the kind of story that leaves you blinking, and I think reading it more than once would enhance the experience.
The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot's Encounters
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