Mmm folklore. Is there anything it can’t do? OK… probably a lot of things. But that’s beside the point here. This is a world that is steeped in some rich folklore, and I have to say I loved it right from the beginning.
He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…
Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…
Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.
Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.
“The man who escapes from the spider is lucky. The man who defeats the spider is a legend. Otherwise, they would never tell this tale.”
First of all, the stories between chapters were all amazing, and that was a really cool way to give sort of a backstory on the folklore this world is mired in. I loved them. I think that my favorite one was The Magpie King and The Black Squirrel.
This story starts off scary. Enter a world where everyone has to hide in their cellars at night because monsters, literal monsters who will eat you, come out at night and… well they try and eat you. So you have villages and villages of people hiding in their cellars at night. Then… it gets darker, weirder, and more complex.
This story more or less reads like a folktale would. The in between chapters are certainly folktales, but Adahy’s story reads like one too. It’s as if Lonen is being told the story night after night. I was absolutely immediately immersed in this novel. Which means two things:
- Awesome job award to Benedict Patrick for keeping my attention for more than a half an hou-I SHOULD CHECK MY TWITTER!
- ‘Shame on me for starting this book at 11:30pm,’ I said at 3am. ‘MMMmuuursmgggrrph,’ I said at 6am, as the alarms chimed.
Lonan was a character that I instantly rooted for, because I love a character who is pretty snarky (which he is) and I really like the sort of wrongfully condemned hero that we can hope for because we are in the know of what really happened that day. I hoped for Lonan to regain the respect that he lost for something that he didn’t do. I hoped that the dude that did this to him got his comeuppance. I even hoped that Lonan got his girl back, despite not ever really feeling that she deserved him… though she had her own situation there, I guess. Lonan becomes legit badass throughout he story.
I didn’t start off liking Adahy as much, but he sort of grew on me as the story progressed. I found myself cheering for him before long, hoping that he would find the courage and the power of the Magpie King that he needed in order to fight the monsters who come in the night. I hoped that he and Maedoc, his whipping boy/bestie would go on a grand adventure to find the power!
The magic/not magic/but actually totally magic system of Knacks that the villagers had, depending on what their trade was or what they’ve learned over the course of their lives was a really interesting idea that was applied in an interesting way. Lonan’s mother has a Knack for cooking, the old woman he stays with has a Knack for healing, which come from years of practice. However, the guy responsible for Lonan’s outcast situation has a Knack for making people believe him. That’s something more like magic. It’s not infallible though. If people are on the edge of incredulity, they won’t take the bait… at least, not all the time. But it works enough that he can ruin someone’s life with it for 8+ years. That was well thought out.
So, this story took a lot of turns. You think you know what’s going to happen. You’re pretty convinced that you know what’s going down and who is who and then this story up and surprises the shit out of you. I’ll not ruin it for you, but suffice to say that I gave a hearty ‘oh, shit.’ more than once when a plot point I was expecting instead turned into the exact opposite of what I was expecting. Stuff I hoped happened… uh… didn’t… didn’t at all happen. I certainly love a novel that will keep me on my toes. The truth of the situation gets revealed slowly but surely, and it was fantastic. The story was amazingly well thought out and was just chock full of surprises. It was one of the darkest fairytales I’ve ever read. Loved it!
Everything wrapped up in one book. This was one complete story in a world of stories. Yarnsworld is a great name for it, because it is yarns and yarns and yarns of tales. I’m definitely excited to read the next book in the series.
This was short, but sweet. Not too short, and certainly not at all sweet, come to think of it. Actually pretty goddamn terrifying in a way. Fucking magpies, man. 5/5 stars!