This book is really good, I am not lying or exaggerating one bit. This book was (and still is) so good that when I was in grade five and had a week or two long illness I read this book cover to cover, literally every single day. That is not to give it a target reading audience of 7 - 11 year old children though, since it occasionally deals with some tough issues revolving around sudden changes in one's life, and how some choose to deal with it - some more negatively than others. I could probably still read this with just as much enjoyment when I am in my sixties as I had that very first time I picked up this book with a runny nose and light-sensitive eyes.
Maybe it is also because of the realism that can be found within the pages of this book, despite the fantastical elements that help compose it. When I was younger I was quite obsessed with fantasy books, and that of course led me to books about faeries. I had access only to a very small library, and in grade four, maybe early grade five, I had read all of the books about faeries/fairies/other things along those lines - except for a few, which were authored by Holly Black. I can remember hauling her book 'Tithe' up to the librarian's desk, and checking it out. I honestly can say, looking back on it now, that I am very surprised that the librarian let me take it out, since I was so young - some of the contents of those books are less than good for younger me, probably better to be read in my teens than in my youth (although I honestly can't remember what happened in those books).
Anyways, the point of that long-winded story is that I learned a lot about faerie myths and folklore in my childhood, and this book was very accurate for the faerie component, but also the same can be said about the human component - the humans seem so real, like I could pick up the phone and just give them a call if I wanted to, and all of the characters were well-developed for the parts they played in the overall story. In other words, this story is very accurate, very human, and very good.
I suppose you want to know what the book is about? I just realized that I have not yet made a synopsis for this, so I guess this is as good a place as any to put one!
Bryony is a young faery wishing for freedom - the ability to go wherever she pleases when she wants to, and do whatever she should like, including going outside of the Oak, which is the ancestral home to her as well as many other faeries. The faeries are all afraid of humans, and Bryony would have been too, had she not come face to face with one in her childhood, a boy. Finally the day comes when she is given a job by the Queen, and later she gets to choose a name of her own - Knife. As Knife stumbles her way through her exciting new life which grants her practically all of her childhood wishes, she falls upon a boy. Not just any boy, but the same boy she met not too many years before. As Knife's life becomes more and more entangled with the boy's, she must begin to wonder: should she backtrack her way out of his life, or has she become so much a part of it that should she extricate herself out of it, it would be just as deadly as it would be to remove her deeply embedded namesake?
Like I said earlier, this was a book that I really loved when I was younger, and I think in result of that, I still really like now. It is one of those books that when I read it, it gives almost that nostalgic feeling of when I was younger (am I even allowed to say that? I'm only a teenager...) and it is just kind of hard to describe. I honestly do not know if I only like this book because I liked it so much when I was younger, or if I genuinely like this book, so although I would recommend it to many people, because of my childhood bias I have no clue if you would like it. Although I think so.
How about you - are there any books that when you read them you just get sucked back to your childhood, or you get this nice nostalgic feeling inside, are there any books that you loved way back when and still do now? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below - I am curious to see what they are!
I hope all is well with all of you, and I will be back soon!
P.S: If you are interested in this book but are put off by the title or the book cover, there is a newer version/edition that came out called 'Knife' with a very different cover (that I think I prefer). The title of the version I have does not represent this book at all, to be honest. Anyways, talk to you later!