The Child Thief by Brom
You might like this if you like: The Plucker by Brom; The Devil’s Rose by Brom; Peter Pan by J M Barrie; dark, twisted fantasy novels
In the vein of Gregory Maguire’s bestselling works, the award-winning artist Brom takes us on a haunting look at the true world of Peter Pan, in his first full-length novel. From modern day New York to the dying land of Faerie, “The Child Thief” reveals the world of Peter Pan through the eyes of an insecure runaway who is seduced by Peter’s charm. But any dreams of a fairy wonderland are quickly replaced by the reality of life and death survival as Peter’s recruits are forced into a lethal battle in which the line between good and evil is blurred.
Wow! Just… wow!
I was already a fan of Brom through his illustrated novels (The Plucker and The Devil’s Rose), but his first full-length novel, The Child Thief succeeded in completely blowing my mind.
Looking at the darker undercurrents of the Peter Pan story, Brom has worked his twisted magic and woven a tale that melts folklore, myth and legend into the story of the boy who never grew up, and the result is nothing short of stunning.
Brom has a rare talent with both words and pictures, and although there are fewer examples of the latter in this novel, those that appear are breathtakingly beautiful and perfectly suited to this retelling of one of the world’s best-loved pieces of children’s literature. And this version is strictly for the grown-ups! The pages are drenched in mayhem as Brom’s sociopathic Peter “steals” children from our world to take to Avalon and fight with him in a quest that seems unwinable. But their battles aren’t just with the Flesheaters – they’re with each other and with themselves as the children (in particular, Nick) try to work through their own adolescent problems.
This is perhaps the most accessible of Brom’s written works, and will hopefully entice people who don’t usually read graphic or illustrated novels, as once a reader has seen Brom’s artwork and read his flowing prose, they will surely fall completely in love and will spill over to his other works.
Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite
Tags: book, book review, book reviews, books, Brom, fantasy, Fiction, Illustrated Novel, review, Reviews, The Child Thief
The Devil’s Rose by Brom
From the creator of “Plucker” comes another illustrated novel, set in Texas and hell. Escapees from hell fill the pages of this book, terrifying and slaying the living as they try to flee their guards from the underworld. Cole, one of the undead, has been sent to reclaim these souls in flight and return them to the fiery depths. But one escaped soul is not like the others: Rath. He in fact wants to return to hell. But why? And why does Cole, a tormented soul from hell strive to capture his fellow mates? It has to do with a woman named Rose, who he did wrong and a pact he made with the devil.
Brom has to be one of the most talented fantasy artists working today, and to top it all, he can actually write too! The Devil’s Rose is Brom’s second illustrated novel (his first being the sumptuously gorgeous The Plucker) and with it he proves he’s not just a one-hit wonder. His dark yet achingly beautiful art perfectly complements this twisted tale of damnation, redemption and the choices made by one man on a quest. I can’t recommend this highly enough – it’s as near to perfect as you can get.
Review by Kell Smurthwaite
Synopsis (from Tesco books):
The Plucker is a dark and twisted tale about a Jack-in-the-Box, aptly named Jack, who must fight for the life of his human boy owner against an evil force, called the Plucker (because he plucks your eyeballs out and sucks out your life force). One by one the Plucker and his minions, called Foulthings, capture the toys in the boy’s room, and carry them off to the bowels of the earth, deep beneath the boy’s house. There the toys are tortured and have their mojo extracted. The toy’s mojo comes from the boy’s love and his belief that the toys are real, so as the Plucker sucks up all the toys’ mojo, he begins to take over the boy’s body. Only Jack can save the boy, with the help of the boy’s nanny, Mabelle, who practices the dark arts. Spine-tingling and creepy, the story is for all ages, but especially for those in love with graphic novels, fantasy, and sci-fi.
This is no book for children! It’s dark and it’s scary and it’s absolutely wonderful! The illustrations are like a nightmare vision of Alice in Wonderland – rich, sumptuous and twisted. It’s a real visual experience. Not only that, but the pictures illustrate a fantastic story that is well written with characters that really come alive as you’re reading.
There’s something compulsive about this tale of the toys’ love for the little boy who breathes life into them, even when they have been forgotten and relegated to the realms of Underbed. There’s magic; a battle between good and evil; and a heroic journey involved as the toys fight for their boy. I would dearly love to see this adapted for the big screen by Tim Burton – Johnny Depp would be wonderful as jack, and Christina Ricci perfectly suited to Angel, and Tim Burton’s Gothic touch would be perfectly suited to portray this deeply satisfying story.
This is so stunning that I’m going to have to get hold of The Devil’s Rose when it comes out in October, as if the few pictures I’ve seen on the website are anything to go by, it promises to be every bit as exquisite as this.
Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite