"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge Item: A Middle-grade Book
I think this book would have made a very good Jim Henson movie.
Its strongest point is the strange, surreal, and dream-like world Oliver creates in the "below," where rats wear lipstick, keepers of dreams fly around, and "Spindlers" feast on souls. So while I enjoyed visualizing the various creatures and locales set before me in a steady succession, I kept feeling that there should somehow be MORE. More plot, stronger themes, SOMETHING to make the setting all worthwhile. But that never really came (although my book club formulated an interesting alternate interpretation about mental illness.)
This is also a book that borrows a LOT from well-known mythology and lore. That in and of itself is fine -- I love retellings -- but it doesn't seem to do anything new with these ideas other than mash them together in one story. Also, it doesn't make any sort of reference to the source material, which means many kids encountering these ideas for the first time would credit Oliver for them.
For that reason, I think kids would enjoy this book a lot more than adults would; it's not one of those books with something worthwhile for almost any age group.