Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Memories Of Teeth

I love it when I discover a book that I bought, put on the shelf and forgot to read, it's kind of like discovering a secret treasure stash.  The other day as I was going through my shelves to pack a book caught my eye and I realized I had forgot to read it so YAY!  The book is Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce and is the third book in The Guardians series.  It was the perfect length and tone for my mindset at that moment so here we go.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
We last left our friends Katherine (the orphan girl with a fierce yet gentle heart), the wizard Ombric who has protected and enriched the hidden village of Santoff Claussen, North the valiant protector of Katherine and her friends, Nightlight the mysterious human like manifestation of pure light, and Bunnymund the rabbit like alien who is both a fighter and a lover of all things eggs, rejoicing at their defeat of their enemy Pitch.  Pitch and his nightmares have not been seen in some time and the group dares to hope he has been defeated for good.  The whole group, along with the villiage decide to go visit the Lamadary in the Himalayas.  Once there they learn the long lost story of Toothiana and how she became the queen of her strange little tooth fairy army.  She is the daughter of a Sister of Flight ( a race of winged women who lived in an ancient and fantastic city guarded by flying elephants) and the servant of a vain and cruel maharaja.  The maharaja wanted to hunt the flying elephants but was defeated by the Sisters of Flight.  His life was spared only by the intervention of his servant and the maharaja was turned into a sort of man monkey.  Fast forward several years later and Toothiana is born.  Once the small minded humans discover her wings, she and her family are hunted. Turns out it is actually a being called the Monkey King (the maharaja in monkey form) who is perusing the little family  and her parents give their lives to protect her.  Before dying they give Toothiana a ruby box to protect.  We also learn that Toothiana collects childrens teeth because they contain the memories that the children eventually forget.  Katherine, after her previous encounter with Pitch decides to use her last baby tooth (which she loses while at the Lamadary) to try and get some sort of memory of her parents of whom she remembers nothing.  Toothiana and her little mini me's (these are what constitute her army) arrive, but before Katherine can bargain with her they are all accosted by the Monkey King and his soldiers.  They carry off Katherine to the lost city of the Sisters of Flight and there she finds Pitch, not quite as defeated as she would wish.  The Guardians after much discussion form a plan and march on Pitch.  Unfortunately our faithful Guardians instead of just going to rescue Katherine, start to feel hate and anger and the need to not just incapacitate but kill Pitch and his army.  Katherine however protects Pitch from the killing blow saving the goodness that is what makes the Guardians themselves.  A wild and mysterious woman appears and spirits Pitch and Katherine away.  The book ends with the Guardians realizing that they erred when they let hate take over and vow to do better.  With that thought they all go to find Katherine.
World Building - This book, like the rest of the series does a great job in creating a fantastical yet understandable world.  This book in particular draws from Indian like settings and has a bit of Middle Eastern flair that fits into the global mythic world that the series is creating.  This installment continues the flow that was started in the first two books and it is very very easy to immerse oneself in this world created to escape to.

Story - I liked that this was both a continuation of the story in the series and added a new bit with the story of Toothiana.  I felt that this particular origin story of the tooth fairy was fresh and original and just all around very cool.  Being mostly a middle grade book I felt the story was simple enough for a younger person to follow, but not dumbed down in any way.

Character - The characters continue to be developed and diverse.  They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, races (some mythological in origin) beliefs, just all kind of goodness.  I also like that most of the main characters have personal conflicts, strengths, weaknesses and so forth.  Especially in books for younger people I think it is important that characters are not perfect, or stereotypes, but that everybody has good and bad sides and needs to learn to work with them.

Editing - I feel that the book is well edited with the story flowing quit well.  The continuity through out the series has been excellent and the book was very readable and age appropriate.

Illustrations - One of my favorite things about this series and this book is no exception is the amazing illustrations peppered through out the book.  They are line drawings with the cover being beautifully rendered in color.  Even if the story sucked I would still pick up these books just on the sheer beauty of them.   In addition to being gorgeous, the illustrations actually help move the story along so they are practical as well.

The Village - So in the story the village that most of our hero's are from decided that they ALL wanted to go visit the they do.  I just love the combination of the sheer impracticality of transporting a whole village...even if it is by magical means, and the idea that the book acknowledges that everybody has the right to go adventuring, not just the main characters.  I also love how it was a given that if the whole village wanted to go, then they would go, no arguments.

Origin Story - Toothiana's origin story was pretty awesome.  I love how the series in general, and this book in specific take something as familiar as our childhood legends and twist them around so they mean so much more.  Along with Toothiana, we also get more of North's future story and more hints into Bunnymund.  It is cool to see these overly familiar characters get a diverse and rich origin story.

Overall Impression - This was another beautiful and wonderful installment to this series and I give it 7 out of 10 molars and now need to go see if I can find the next one.  I recommend it to anybody who loves retellings, myths or needs a book to read with their wee ones.

Happy Reading Everybody!

No comments:

Post a Comment