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The Wikkeling
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July 2018: Dystopian > The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson - 3 stars

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Amy N. | 256 comments Children's dystopia-- yes, it exists, and it's wonderful.

Although the setting of this story is most definitely a dystopia, the feel of it reminded me a bit more of the exaggerated, whimsical, slightly creepy British humor you get from early JK Rowling or Roald Dahl. And I'm reasonably certain the writer isn't even British. The ending is a bit loose, but I enjoyed reading the bulk of it so much that I didn't even care. There are very clear themes of progress versus tradition, technology versus nature, with no clear winners, although this seemed less like a deliberate statement of ambiguity and more like the writer simply didn't know quite how to resolve the tension. One of my favorite things about the book is the book itself: the cover is clothbound and has a wonderfully creepy illustration, and there's an entire section of beautifully illustrated entries in a fictional bestiary.

I think overall a very simple story of friendship and a child's burgeoning sense of individuality got a little bogged down in much bigger themes than it was meant to carry, but I also think the clear, clever writing and charming characters were good enough that I didn't mind too much.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6541 comments I had no idea there were dystopian children's books, but I seriously want to see a copy of this one just to see the illustrations. That's one thing I kinda miss about having moved to 100% e-reading. Maybe when I have grandchildren, I'll have the pleasure of illustrated books again. Seems a ways off as neither of my sons is even engaged.


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