Monday, September 5, 2016

Review for The Cripple's Game by Jonathan Birdsall - 4 out of 5


The Cripple, is a preadolescent demon, summoned from his home realm to replace the soul of a peasant's still born son. While in the world of man, he sets out to educate himself on the ways of exploiting and manipulating others. He discovers humanity to be an inferior people to his way of thinking, leading him to underestimate those he seeks to control.
He sets out to manipulate a nobleman, through convincing him a local tavern maid possesses the ability to transform straw into gold. The Cripple then makes a bargain with that maid to turn the straw into gold on her behalf, in exchange for the things he requires to grow up and return to his realm as an adult demon. His pact with the girl however, may lead to the failing of his efforts and cost The Cripple his way home.


The Cripple's Game is a darker version of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, and is told from the viewpoint of the "villain". This book goes into the origin story of the crippled man, which I found to be interesting, and how it came about for him to have magical capabilities, and it follows similar lines of the tale most know as Rumpelstiltskin, but with a twist. I remember liking the Rumpelstiltskin story when I was younger, but now that I think about it, that story wasn't really an endearing story because even though the woman figured out Rumpelstiltskin and got to keep her baby, the prince type guy only married the woman because she could make straw into gold, so it's not exactly a tale of upstanding characters. This book definitely adds a lot more darkness and grit to the story, and there are some grotesque, gruesome images portrayed, so the fa├žade is peeled off of the story and characters; there really isn't any character in this book that you want to root for. I enjoyed the writing, the author created a vivid image in my mind as I read, and I think it flowed quite well. I do feel like I wanted the story to move a bit faster, but the story was interesting, so I didn't mind too much since the book is already fairly short. The Cripple was an entertaining, unique character to have a POV from because you don't like him, but he is amusing at times, so you sort of root for him, which he is really rather despicable, so you don't want to be rooting for him, but you can't help it sometimes! Some of his thought processes are just crazy, so there's a touch of humor to him, that makes him seem not so threatening. I like re-imaginings, so I'm glad I read this!

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