Sunday, May 27, 2018

Review: Goth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death by Chris Riddell!

Title: Goth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death
Series: Goth Girl #2
Author: Chris Riddell
Format: Hardcover, 218 pages
Pub. Date: September 25th 2014
Source: Half Price Books

Book Description:

Preperations are under way for the Full-Moon Fete and the Great Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off.

Celebrity cooks are arriving at the hall for the big event, and as usual Maltravers is acting suspiciously. On top of all this, Ada's elusive lady's made Marylebone has a surprising secret, and everyone seems to have forgotten Ada's birthday!



So, my aesthetic and interests are definitely slanted more to the "goth" end of the spectrum. So when I see a book with goth in the title, especially about a goth girl, it's a big sell for me. Plus, there's illustrations and the binding is super pretty. I haven't read book one of the series but figured I'd give this one a try. I didn't feel like I was missing anything from the first book.

First, let's talk illustrations. They're super fun. They're done in a style that reminds me a bit of the Series of Unfortunate Events. Sort of dark, but well detailed and a bit whimsical. There's also fun little footnotes used to further explain things.

I think this is a book that works on two levels, sort of like Shrek. I know that's a weird comparison. But have you ever watched a movie or tv show for kids, and realized you and the kids are watching two different shows? Like they're laughing at a fart joke, but you're laughing at a more adult one? That's sort of how this book works. There are so many jokes and word play and references that I'm sure kids don't get. Not dirty ones, but for example there's a chef in this book named William Flake. His pet's name is Tyger, Tyger. As an English grad, I laughed. There's also a chef modeled after Gordon Ramsay whose signature dish is "A Nightmare in the Kitchen". I love Kitchen Nightmares. There's poodles named Belle & Sebastian, which is a band. The book is chockablock full of these sort of in-jokes, and I loved it.

It blends fantasy really well. There's vampires, there's a magical circus. There's pastries that defy physics. There's even a bear who's a housekeeper. I found it both silly and endearing, and I think that's good in a kid's book.

There's even a little mini-biography included in a sleeve on the back cover of the hardcover edition that helps to tie up the loose ends.

The only criticism I have is that the end scene is a bit sudden and rushed. It felt very "rips-off-the-mask-of-the-housekeeper I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those meddling kids".

This is a fun read for kids or kids at heart. It's written in a similar vein to Series of Unfortunate Events or The 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield. It's a bit dark but a lot of fun, and I'd definitely read the other ones in this series.


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