21 Nov 2015

Review: Tinder by Sally Gardner

Goodreads Synopsis:
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

My experience with Tinder by Sally Gardner: 

I've been sitting here for about ten minutes trying to decide how I feel about this book and I'm honestly not sure. The story follows Otto Hundebiss, who has dealt with horrifying things in his life, including the death of his family and being a solider. After a battle he finds himself healed by a stranger, who hands him four dice that are supposed to tell him in which direction he must travel and the story continues from there. I first saw this book around 2-3 months ago, and the cover was what caught my eye, but it wasn't until it was on special on Mighty Ape that I finally decided to take the plunge and give it a go.

I have always wished for more illustrated books that are aimed for teenagers/adults, there's nothing that I love more than children's picture books. My mum is an early childhood teacher, and she's forever browsing the shelves at the local bookstore, picking out the most beautiful books I have ever seen. Some of the artwork is so beautiful, and I always wonder why there aren't more picture books, or let's say illustrated novels, for people who aren't really meant to read them anymore. I would definitely pick the illustrated version of a book over a normal paperback, even with an extra cost.

I definitely enjoyed the story, I mean, I read it in just over 24 hours, but something about it made me think it wasn't worth four or five stars but I'm not sure what it was. I did feel that, because the language in fairytales is usually incredibly proper, that reading over 250 pages written that way did get incredibly tedious and frustrating... but perhaps that's just me after getting used to reading so much 'regular' YA.

The characters were many and very entertaining, but I didn't feel myself getting too attached to any of them. Usually, a story like this will leave me teary eyed and with hundreds of used and discarded tissues around me, but Tinder didn't really evoke any emotions in me, except for a nostalgia for the days that I read fairytales to myself, or when my parents would read them to me.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fairytale retelling, the book was based on a Hans Christian Anderson story, it's quite morbid and violent, but also very complex and clever. I wouldn't recommend reading it in such a short space of time, as it not only takes away from the story, but also becomes sort of annoying... Maybe five or so chapters a night. I give this book three out of five stars (★★★☆☆).

Where you can find the book:
Amazon Australia  // Amazon UK // Amazon US // Book Depository // Barnes and Noble

About the Author:
Sally Gardner grew up and still lives in London. Being dyslexic, she did not learn to read or write until she was fourteen and had been thrown out of several schools, labeled unteachable, and sent to a school for maladjusted children. Despite this, she gained a degree with highest honors at a leading London art college, followed by a scholarship to a theater school, and then went on to become a very successful costume designer, working on some notable productions.

After the births of twin daughters and a son, she started first to illustrate and then to write picture books and chapter books, usually with fairytale- or otherwise magical subject matter. She has been called 'an idiosyncratic genius' by London’s Sunday Times.

Keeping up with the author:
Website // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

About the Illustrator: 
David Roberts is a British children's illustrator. He has illustrated a large number of books in both black and white and colour. His black and white work mainly features in books for older readers and he has worked with such well-known authors as Philip Ardagh (on the Eddie Dickens and Unlikely Exploits series), G.P. Taylor (on the Mariah Mundi series), Chris Priestley (on the Tales of Terror series), Mick Jackson (on Ten Sorry Tales and The Bears of England), Susan Price (on the Olly Spellmaker series), Jon Blake (on the Stinky Finger series) and Tom Baker (on The Boy Who Kicked Pigs). Mouse Noses on Toast by Daren King won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize (ages 6–8 years) in 2006, after which King and Roberts collaborated on other titles including Peter the Penguin Pioneer, Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots and The Frightfully Friendly Ghosties series.

Keeping up with the illustrator:
Website // Tumblr

I hope you enjoyed this review of Tinder by Sally Gardner, let me know down below if you've read it and what your thoughts were as I obviously couldn't decide. I usually write 8-10 paragraphs on a book, but I just couldn't for this one! Don't forget to comment and subscribe!

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