Monday, April 12, 2010

The Child Thief, by Brom (and Green Angel, by Alice Hoffman)

I sat outside in the sun and finished The Child Thief on Saturday. It fits into the "fairy tale" part of the Once Upon a Time Challenge, but mostly I read it because it's Brom. As should be expected when you open a book by Brom (or look at any of his art), The Child Thief is filled with magic and darkness. It's not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, as Brom has no qualms about describing graphic details or including horrific scenes. There are many of those, as the story is about a boy who steals children, takes them to his fort on Avalon where they become the Devils (the Lost Boys of Peter Pan) and where they train so that they can fight his war against the monsterous captain and his crew in a centuries-long attempt to save Avalon. Brom finds the sinister in Peter Pan and brings it to the forefront of the story, weaving it so skillfully with the magic of the tale that you finish the book feeling like you just read the true story of Peter Pan. The Child Thief is like the gritty truth Brom revealed by pulling back all the years of candy coating.

Green Angel was a library book sale purchase, and I expected much from it when I sat down to read it this weekend. It's a short book that can be read in one sitting, but I can only recommend it for the beauty of the prose. The way Hoffman put words together was beautiful, but it was almost as though she focused so much on the words that she forgot what the words were saying. The story was choppy, and I felt that most of the time the narrator told me what happened rather than showing me. I also found it difficult to identify with the main character, in spite of the fact that ten years ago I was an angsty, shy, withdrawn teenage girl myself. This book may be one of the few books that goes back to the library in a donation box.


  1. I was so hopeful about The Green Angel too. This is not the first review that was less than positive.

    So The Child Thief is a graphic novel then? of short stories?

    I've seen it around but have not been too interested in it, but now that you mention the dark bit, I'm thinking to take a closer look.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Shellie! The Child Thief is not a collection of short stories but a single novel (although I wouldn't mind reading some short stories by Brom!). I've heard it referred to as a re-telling of Peter Pan, but it's more the story behind the story than a re-telling. I hope you enjoy it!