A young soldier, a captive princess, witches, wolves and Death walk hand in hand in Costa Award winner Sally Gardner's exquisitely written new novel inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Tinderbox.
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
Fairy tales are often the cruellest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.
Read by Robert Madge.
©2013 Sally Gardner (P)2013 Orion Publishing Group
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"Wow, start to finish in one night. Excellent!"
Magical, terrifying and Satiable!
I felt there was three parts to this book, all of which I favoured. The middle where he reaches the castle was my favourite. I was there with him, I could feel, smell and hear everything like it was right here with me.
No one could have done a better job, he fitted the soldier perfectly.
It made me grip with fear and such sadness for what had happened to his sister and the girl in the red cloak. That was very personal for me.
I listened from start to finish in one night, I was so hungry for more. I didn't want it to end. I don't think Sally could've re written this better, I love this type of story. I love the original and hans Christian Anderson is one of my favourites, I'm sure he would have loved to have heard such darkness and macabre in his story.
"Gothic and gruesome"
Yes. I was entertained and taken on a gothic adventure.
I wasn't familiar with the fairystory and am inspired to read the original.
My car journeys sped by.
It is worth looking at the novel too as the stories illustrate the narrative. There isn't a great deal of description in the written word so you need the illustrations to flesh out the story.
Mild sexual scenes and violence. I would recommend 13+.
"Sad and beautiful fairy story"
I think I will. I like the dreamy melancholic nature of it. A book for long winter evenings.
It has a bit of Gaiman feel at times.
The main character really. I believed in him as a boy soldier who has seen horrors.
It's generally quite sad but not in an unpleasant way.
Sometimes it was unclear if it was a dream or reality. Needed clearer explanation.
He was a little monotone.
NO!!! For the love of God NO!!!!
"Not a Fairy Tale for Younger Ears!"
Magical, mysterious and gothic.
The appearance of the Lady of the Nail. Chilling!
His gentle voice not only suited the character of traumatised young soldier, Otto Hundebiss, but also suited the style of writing. If it weren't so darned creepy, you could easily be lulled to sleep with his bedtime story reading!
Not really. It suited being listened to in the evenings... probably best tucked up on a stormy night!
For a more in-depth review, check my blog at: http://literary-loves.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/tinder-by-sally-gardner.html
"Not quite magical enough"
I'm not quite sure why, but Tinder didn't enthrall me in the way I hoped it would. I enjoy fairytales by modern authors such as Neil Gaiman but felt this one lacked a truly magical spark. There are a number of unexpected flashbacks which made the story a bit tricky to follow on audio as if I missed a few seconds, I wasn't always able to pick the story up again easily.
Based on The Tinderbox tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Sally Gardner has cleverly worked the trauma of child soldiers and civil war into her story and set in in the period of the 30 Years War about which I know precious little but am now intrigued to research. She tells us a little about her influence and inspiration after the tale which was interesting to hear.
Robert Madge does a good job of the narration and his voice fits how I imagine Otto would sound. The story trips along at a good pace with frequent fantastical imagery, but some descriptions are overly repeated which I found annoying. For example, the 'pointless quill' of a lawyer is a great visual phrase, but I didn't need it hammered home so many times in quick succession.
As is typical of fairytales, the characters are not particularly well developed, there are goodies and baddies a plenty and they tend to stick to type. I did like the Lady of the Nail and the hotel keeper is fun.
Reading other reviews, I have discovered the printed book is illustrated by David Roberts which adds greatly to the atmosphere of the tale. Perhaps for Tinder, this would have been the better option, however I don't think I will be buying a second version to find out.
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