Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) on his Always in the Middle website each week. Check it out for more great kidlit!
This is the first time I’ve participated in MMGM in a few years, and I picked a great book for my return. The premise grabbed me right away. I’ll post a bit of the prologue here, because Mr. Shultz does a much better job of setting things up than I can:
Not every story ends in “happily ever after.” In fact, most stories never end at all.
Every tale has consequences, you see–fairy tales in particular. You can’t expect everything to end happily when an entire country has just woken up from a hundred-year sleep. Or when a queen tries to murder the crown princess on the recommendation of her mirror. Or when giants fall from fifty-foot beanstalks.
The truth is, quite a lot happened in all the kingdoms of legend after “The End”–and it wasn’t all happy…
This prologue is being penned by the main character, Mr. Nick Beasley, “the foremost private investigator in the Afterlands, famous for debunking magic and monsters. Until [he] got transformed into a monster, that is.”
That is an absolutely fabulous intro, isn’t it? Wit, creativity, and some tantalizing foreshadowing. The story that follows lived up to every expectation.
The plot of Talesend entertains, to be sure, but it’s the characters and their fantastically witty dialogue that truly shine in this story. Nick is a hardcore realist who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and he doesn’t take crap from anybody. Not from his inept younger brother who serves as his assistant. Not from the wealthy (and shady) Lord Whitlock, who hires him to find the ancient Clawthorn Rose. And not from the beautiful and strong-willed Lady Cordelia, Whitlock’s daughter. Nick takes the case simply to prove the rose is not magical. He gets much, much more than he bargained for.
Mr. Shultz spins out each scene with clever language and hilarious detail. I absolutely love the scene where Nick wakes up and gradually realizes he’s turned into a beast. Shultz also times his comedy masterfully, and the clash of characters he’s created gives him so many opportunities to put his talents to use. I laughed all the way through.
Before I gush further, let me wrap things up with a strict admonition: You have to pick this one up! It’s clean, it’s clever, and the whole story just works. Do it. Seriously. You can thank me later.
There are four books in the Beasley and Beaumont series. (I’m on book three!) Grab them from Amazon: