Meddling Kids

By Edgar Cantero

Rating: 3 stars

I loved the elevator pitch for this book (basically: Enid Blyton meets H. P. Lovecraft). A group of Famous Five-esque teenage detectives grow up and go back to revisit their last case – it was just a guy in a mask, as always… wasn’t it?

I enjoy the story itself, but like other reviewers on GoodReads, I found the author’s literary ticks distracting. The occasional dropping into screenplay format and meta-textual awareness of being a piece of fiction grated and, for me, didn’t add anything to the story. I found the changes in format and sly winks at the reader distracting and they pulled me out of the story.

The story itself is enjoyable. I read a lot of Enid Blyton when I was young, and loved to see those tropes taken apart and re-examined here (with a bit of Scooby Doo thrown in), as well as the supernatural element. The characters felt real enough to keep me going, despite the author’s antics, with Andy, Kerri and Nate all being drawn well enough to be sympathetic despite their various flaws. Tim(my) the dog was my runaway favourite character though.

Book details

ISBN: 9781785658761
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Year of publication: 2017

Myriad Lands: Volume 1: Around the World

By David R. Stokes

Rating: 4 stars

I found this collection of fantasy short stories at a convention, and was intrigued at its premise of a diverse set of authors telling stories not necessarily inspired by traditional Western history, and not limited to the traditional faux-medieval setting. The book had a high hit rate for me, and with Firestarter a story that really felt like it could be expanded into a full novel – I want to know more about both these characters and the world they inhabit. Other stories that really clicked with me are Ascension about a monk’s journey to enlightenment; The Music Maker about a young woman whose attempt to leave a mark doesn’t turn out as she’d hoped; The Pride of Kutush, telling of a young hunter sent to retrieve a stolen god; and The Beauty of the Dance in which music and magic are tightly intertwined.

There were some that I didn’t really get and some that were good but a bit dark for my tastes, but in all I’ve got to congratulate the editor on the choice and range of stories in the volume.

Book details

ISBN: 9781911486046
Publisher: Guardbridge Books
Year of publication: 2016

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