There were no illustrations in the book. Pages 12, 18, 38, 49, 58, 75, 89, 96, 104, and 117 were all blank - not missing but blank! I had bought the book primarily to see the illustrations since Will Davis in my next door neighbor's son so it was disappointing to me. Something must have gone wrong in the printing.
Clemency Pogue, an independent girl of 11, loves listening to stories. She is well-versed in many of the more familiar ones, such as PETER PAN, as her parents retell these tales and weave new ones for entertainment following dinner. So Clemency is somewhat prepared --- and not completely shocked --- to find herself one day face to face with a real live fairy! Unfortunately, this particular fairy is not a nice one. The mean little thing attacks Clemency with a stinging wand, forcing her over a cliff! Clemency might have fallen to her death if not for the life-saving roots of a nearby tree. But despite this close call, she is still in danger as the cruel fairy dives in for another attack.
Drawing on her knowledge of the world of fairies, Clemency remembers that all she has to do in order to defeat the fairy is to denounce her belief. For good measure, she denounces the fairy seven times, and the spiteful thing finally falls over dead. Immensely relieved, Clemency carefully climbs up the roots of the tree to safety and continues on her way. That is, until she is confronted by an unusual creature called a hobgoblin. This rude and quirky fellow informs her that she not only killed the fairy who had been stinging her, but also six other fairies, one for each of her announcements of disbelief. Clemency feels just awful --- so awful in fact that she decides to do something about it. With the reluctant assistance of the hobgoblin, Clemency sets out to fix her mistakes.
Author J. T. Petty tells a wonderful tale with clever dialogue, suspenseful adventure, and humorous characters. Readers will admire the intelligent and spirited heroine, and laugh at her unlikely companion, while enjoying the enlivening drawings of the talented illustrator, Will Davis. Some readers may need to keep a dictionary handy due to a few challenging words, but all will love this tale of the fairies, wanting to read it over and over --- and even save it for their own children.
I think the Publisher's Weekly review was right on the mark when they said: "Though Petty works some clever wordplay and comic elements into his narrative, readers are likely to find Clemency's path to reversing the curse lengthy and laborious."
The idea behind this story is pretty good, and a lot of the elements contained within it should have been witty and hilarious. But the writing of it was poorly executed. The guy who wrote it is a scriptwriter, I've heard, and does a lot of horror movies. He is probably well suited to doing so, more so than he is to writing books that are supposed to be for kids. I say 'supposed to be for kids' because, well, when I read this book I kept seeing words and cultural references that I was pretty sure most kids of 8-12 years of age just weren't going to get, which made me wonder, was this actually written for kids, or rather for adults who like grown up fairy tales? But then, it was too childish and poorly-put-together for the adult writing market, so that theory didn't gel either. I also thought the book was trying to be funny, and occasionally it was, but most of the time it missed its mark, and instead ended up just sort of mundane and trudging and cumbersome.
Look, it's not a bad book. It tries hard, and sometimes it gets there. Some people seem to genuinely like it, and good luck to them, but I didn't like it much. All the same, I wish the writer luck in his future endeavours...he may develop into something special, given time, because he's got some really good ideas, if he can just learn to write in the style of a children's book author rather than a horror movie scriptwriter.
If you buy this book, be prepared to spend a lot of time laughing really hard and shaking your head in disbelief that someone could write such rapid-fire, shamefully good words that are strung together like a very silly, but impressive necklace. Not the macaroni kind. The valuable, expensive kind of necklace.
I would highly recommend this book whether you're a kid or a silly adult. Or you have a fairy problem to solve. Or maybe you're trapped under something large and need something to read as you wait for help. This is a great book to read in all of life's situations. It's that funny. But, don't read it in church or at a funeral or a State of the Union address. Because you'll laugh really hard and get mean looks. Someone might even take the book away, which would totally suck and you'd regret that for the rest of your life.
If you love Monty Python, Jasper Fforde, Shel Silverstein, or are just a connossieur of clever writing, this is the book for you. It tastes good also. I prefer mine with clementine jam.