- 2 Cups original imagination from an obvious talent
- 1 Cup Grimm’s Fairy Tales
- ½ Cup Incorrigible children like those from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- 1 pinch each disgusting, gross and weird
- Fold in one plucky heroine, one missing grandfather, and one very mysteriously creepy book
- Season with atmospheric description and deliciously creepy writing
- Mix together and sprinkle lightly with gruesome details.
"On a desk in the room with the stained glass windows sat a book.
It was a thick volume with a worn and cracked black cover showing a gold symbol, a rectangle within two circles that sparkled and flickered as if teased by ghostly fingers. Voices whispered from inside the book, growing in volume, a few human, a few not."
Poor Eliza has a dreary mother, one of those practical sorts who doesn't allow things like imagination and curiosity. I already know I don't like her much. But perhaps she does have reasons for this sad flaw.
Twelve year old Eliza has come with her parents to clean out her grandfather's house and catalog things of value. As her grandfather is missing this seems a bit odd and perhaps slightly premature.
As Eliza reads some of the stories in The Book of Kindly Deaths there are clues these might not be simply stories. Including a strange memory she has of the last visit to her grandparents' home six years before when she was only six.
"The phantom of a forgotten memory crossed her mind. A ghost of an event that had occurred the last time she was at this house. Although the recollection was fleeting, she still felt an icy sting of dread."
Eliza, and we the readers, are treated to some tales from The Book of Kindly Deaths, where we learn a bit about the denizens of a place called Grimwytch, full of nightmarish creatures. Eliza comes to be in immediate danger, escaping only to find herself in Grimwytch. There she finds both villains and allies, and learns what happened to her grandfather.
This book has that dark fairytale vibe, and stories within the story. The writing is descriptive and deliciously creepy.
There are a few mildly gruesome bits, but nothing I’d hesitate a middle grade reader reading, as long as they enjoy dark and creepy stories. Young people who delight in spooky tales will eat this one up.
I also think people older than Middle Grade will enjoy this one. I’m an adult and I sure did. I very much hope there are more stories of Eliza to come.
In one chapter there is some mild profanity, spoken by someone who is definitely not portrayed as admirable.
I noticed one use each of “Damn you”, “To hell with…” and two of “bastard”.
This book is dark, and definitely geared to young people who enjoy that sort of tale.