Sunday, 15 December 2013

Review: Tinder by Sally Gardner

| Publisher: Indigo | Source: Review Copy, paperback | Release Date: Nov 7 2013 | 

Blurb: A young soldier, a captive princess, witches, wolves and Death walk hand in hand in COSTA AWARD winner Sally Gardner's exquisitely written new novel inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, THE TINDERBOX, illustrated by David Roberts.

Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?

Fairy tales are often the cruellest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.


I was so happy to receive this book for review, thank you again to Easons for sending it to me in exchange for an honest review. 

This story was inspired by The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Anderson, one of his earliest fairy tales . Gardner said she wanted to "retell the story in a historical context but with a modern resonance ". I feel that she has achieved this and more with Tinder. 

The novel really does have a dream-like atmosphere, similar to one you would find in a fairytale story. The dream-like quality of her writing style adds to the fantastical element of the novel. I felt myself experience feelings of nostalgia for when I would read fairytale stories as a child. Gardner also uses elegant descriptions and engaging dialogue to bring the reader further into the world and emotions of the characters. 

The plot of the book was very fairytale-sq. It had things which you would usually find in a fairytale, such as a hero, a princess, danger, an evil queen and a little magic. The plot of the book was interesting and I found myself become invested in it as I have not read the original story. I didn't enjoy the pacing of the novel, I felt it became very weak and slow in the middle while picking up at the very end. Although I think this may be because it is essentially a short fairytale story stretched out into a novel. 

The characters of the book were not my favourite aspect. I felt the characters were good but I sometimes found it difficult to pinpoint what it was about them that I liked. I liked our protagonist Otto as he was brave and very much a hero. I liked his sense of morality also. I was unsure about the princess as I couldn't find any of the qualities that made her so appealing to Otto.

Overall a good novel for fans of fairy tales or fairy tale retelling's.  

I would also recommend Cinder by Marissa Meyer if you enjoyed this novel. 


Three Stars 

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