Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've Got a Crush...

On Jon Berkeley.

I have blogged before about his very excellent book The Hidden Boy, so I was tickled pink to find the first book in his Wednesday Tales series, The Palace of Laughter. And I am here to tell you, it did not disappoint.

It's fantasy, but it's so fresh, and told in such a novel way...I am almost at a loss for words (and that never happens. Seriously.)
Miles Wednesday, who lives in a barrel outside the town of Larde, meets a tiger one day in the woods. A talking tiger. Who decides not to eat him. The next morning, the tiger is gone and Miles, who has run away from the orphanage (Pinchbucket House -- how's that for a name?) sneaks into the circus to see if the tiger is real or not.

Instead of a tiger, he meets an angel. A real angel named Little who's in trouble. He rescues her from the evil ringmaster, the Great Cortado, and this begins their cross country adventure. They are searching for the Palace of Laughter -- though they don't know what or where it is. They hope to find Little's angel companion, Stormpoint, but they are sidetracked by a number of odd and sometimes frankly bizarre happenings.

Love Love Love Jon Berkeley. Love his originality, love the mesmerizing rhythm of his prose. I get lost in his finely drawn, almost-modern-yet-curiously-old-fashioned-worlds. I can picture each one of his oddball characters -- from Little, whose skin glows faintly, to fat Lady Partridge, who lives in a tree house with a hundred cats, to Tangerine, the bear Miles has had since he was left at the orphanage and who is brought to life by some magic of Little's.

Seriously, give this one a try. Or read The Hidden Boy -- if you like fantasy or even just oddball fiction, Jon Berkeley won't let you down.

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