I got this one as a complete whimsy so as to break a cycle of bad books. I’m glad I found another book to do the job because this one, while not bad, wasn’t really that good either. This one’s more of a case of me not being the target audience, I think. Last year I read Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie, and I was blown away by it. As I mentioned before, cryptids are interesting concepts that have always been a part of the mythology of every culture of this world, and I’m duly fascinated by the idea. But I find that much like with vampire stories, you have to go through a few thousand of them to find one that’s actually worth your time. Having found Menagerie last year, I suspected this wouldn’t be nearly up to par.
This one I think is targeted more towards ages 8-15, and it has similar themes as Menagerie, but comparing the two books is really a disservice because they are worlds apart. This one’s sinister element isn’t nearly so sinister, and it doesn’t have nearly the verisimilitude. Instead it plays heavy on charm, or attempts to, and would probably make a good live action Disney movie if this were the 1970s. The villains of the piece play a lot like Dr. Terminus from Pete’s Dragon. Likewise, I think the narration is a bit cartoony as well. Kate Rudd’s diction is overly precise to the point where it doesn’t feel human at times, and while she changes her voice appropriately for different characters, it feels more like she’s narrating a children’s puppet show than an audiobook. I think if it found its audience, this one would probably be worth it in the end. Even so, I don’t feel I wasted my time with it. It was simply… different from my usual fare.