11 May, 2014
A wonderful happenstance (A Most Majelicus Review)
My story began when I pid-padded along a Twitter hashtag journey, clicking here and there based upon my interests. Then I came upon a picture of someone working on a handmade hare doll, and what became a compliment turned into a tweet exchange that left me asking, "What in the world does peffa-shindinculously mean?"
Twitter led to the blog run by artist and writer team, Jacqui and Phil Lovesey, and not only was I enthralled by their majickal crafting skills, but the excerpt of Matlock the Hare on Amazon had me at hello. To be honest, I haven't been this ensnared by a story's opening since The Hobbit, nor as convinced by a fantastical culture since Watership Down.
Everything grand about my favourite childhood stories -- Wind in The Willows, Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn, and even Flight of Dragons -- Matlock the Hare could fit in with all the best of them. And it should. Every bit of whimsy in this novel belongs right up there with the greats.
Now, probably because I'm a language nerd, I will say that what I loved most about this novel was that the land of Winchett Dale isn't just brought about through dialogue. The reader (or traveller, as the opening would say) is totally immersed in the saztaculous narrative from beginning to end. The Loveseys help you out, of course, by providing the most commonly used words in the front, but by the time you've reached the end of the first chapter, you've become so fluent in the language that you don't need the cheat sheets anymore.
Overall rating: I love this book, plain and simple. I was already recommending it to friends before I'd finished the first chapter. It's. That. Good. Frankly, it's everything good and whimsical of my favourite childhood stories rolled into one, and if Matlock the Hare doesn't become the next big children's--oh, hell, the next big book for everyone, then a great injustice has been done.
Five out of Five stars for memorable characters, original plot, and solid world-building.
Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.
When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.