Natalie's Reviews > The Fairy-Tale Detectives

The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley
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's review
Jan 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, fairytale, nowhereville-usa, spy-mystery-crime
Recommended for: Middle-grade, fairytale lovers
Read in January, 2007

I'll give this book some credit- this dark-and-twisted fairytale came before all of the other dark-and-twisted fairytales. It has a stable plot, a couple of one-liners, and a clever, modern twist on certain characters like Snow White.
Plot: The plot is relatively simple. You can tell that there's going to be another couple books. "Orphaned" kids get stuck with creepy grandma, who turns out to be not so creepy, then is captured (by Jack the giant-killer...) If any of you bookies watch TV, it's rather like that new Once Upon A Time show.
Hero/Heroine: Our heroines are Sabrina and Daphne. Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of them. Sabrina was the all-knowing-yet-always-wrong older sister, who's the tough mom's-gone-so-I'm-gonna-take-over-and-always-be-strong kind of girl, but it doesn't come across as protective and loyal, like, say, Katniss Everdeen or Lina Mayfleet, it just sort of comes off as bitchy. Daphne is the fun-loving, purity-and-innocence-will-always-prevail kind of kid, and that frankly annoys me just as well. There's no clear "hero," but there's Puck. Puck gets his own category. I liked Puck - he dishes out most of the aforementioned witty one-liners despite being somewhat too immature and boyishly childish. And despite his constant protests that he's not Peter Pan, he seems to be just that. Also it'd make more sense- we can all agree that Midsummer Night's Dream is hardly a Grimm story or even a fairytale at all (because there are some Hans Andersen stories in there too). But if you're going to include Midsummer's, then have some magic. All Puck could do was fly. No love potions, screwing stupid mortals lives up, being a therapist to the angry faerie king, though thankfully a fair amount of mischief, that mostly involved aforementioned boyish pranks messing up the Prissy Princess's hair.
I can see this as being several blockbuster books in a series, what with the looming Red Hand (really?) Organization over their heads. I'd recommend this to middle-grade readers, or just people who are incredibly into fairytales (I'm sure there are a fair amount, look at Disney). Despite my criticisms, this is actually a pretty good book. The thing Buckley did best is transform the fairytales into modern-day life; it was realistic and pretty believable. Quality of writing was average, but I wasn't expecting much. It's a kid's book.


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