Book Review: The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden, Vol. 1


In the Night Garden

The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden

Summary (copied from the back of the book, ISBN: 0-553-38403-1)

“Secreted away in a garden, a lonely girl spins stories to warm a curious prince: peculiar feats and unspeakable fates that loop through each other and back again to meet in the tapestry of her voice. Inked on her eyelids, each twisting, tattooed tale is a piece in the puzzle of the girl’s own hidden history. And what tales she tells! Tales of shape-shifting witches and wild horse-women, heron kings and beast princesses, snake gods, dog monks, and living stars – each story more strange and fantastic than the one that came before. From ill-tempered ‘mermaid’ to fastidious Beast, nothing is ever quite what it seems in these ever-shifting tales – even, and especially, their teller. Adorned with illustrations by the legendary Michael Kaluta, Valente’s enchanting lyrical fantasy offers a breathtaking reinvention of the untold myths and dark fairy tales that shape our dreams. And just whne you think you’ve come to the end, you realize the adventure has only begun…”

 My Review

From the first few words, you’ll never want to put the book down and there isn’t a dull spot to be found. Catherynne M. Valente’s poetic style of writing and the wonderful weaving tales will leave you wanting more. Each tale, woven around the tale of a young prince curious to speak to a child who has been banished by everyone, is more fantastic than the one that came before. The weaving of so many tales gets confusing at times just because you have to keep track of all the many characters and who’s telling what tale, but in the end, they all come together. I’m sure any reader can relate to at least one character or one of the many tales told within this story. This is not a story meant for children, as it can get graphic at times, but rather a children’s story meant for adults. Each tale told has characters beyond what most imaginations could dream up. I cannot wait to read more stories Catherynne M. Valente has to tell and certainly the second installment of this tale. I wanted more the moment I put it down. Each chapter is no more than five pages long, which makes for an easy read.

 A Few of My Favorite Quotes From the Novel:

“Some who deserve failure do not achieve it. Some who deserve nothing are given the world.” ~ The Fox, page 59

“The weed takes what does not belong to it and gives nothing back but more weeds; the apple tree takes what is freely given to it, and returns cider and pies and tarts and jams.” ~ Ravhija, page 181

“Grief is a private sacrament. Give it not to others as though it were a gift.” ~ The Book of the Bough, page 253

“We all have someone we thinks shines so much more than we do that we are not even a moon to their sun, but a dead little rock floating in space next to their gold and their blaze.” ~ Sigrid, page 291

“Stories are like prayers. It does not matter when you begin, or when you end, only that you bend a knee and say the words.” ~ The Green-Eyed Sigrid, page 414


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