Monday, 31 October 2016

Tinder by Sally Gardner


Tinder by Sally Gardner
First published by Orion in the UK in November 2013. Audiobook edition narrated by Robert Madge also published by Orion in November 2013.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the audiobook download from Audible via Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

How I got this book:
Bought the audiobook from Audible

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?

I'm not quite sure why, but Tinder didn't enthrall me in the way I hoped it would. I enjoy fairytales by modern authors such as Neil Gaiman but felt this one lacked a truly magical spark. There are a number of unexpected flashbacks which made the story a bit tricky to follow on audio as, if I missed a few seconds, I wasn't always able to pick the story up again easily. Based on The Tinderbox tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Sally Gardner has cleverly worked the trauma of child soldiers and civil war into her story and set it in the period of the 30 Years War about which I know precious little but am now intrigued to research. She tells us a little about her influence and inspiration after the tale which was interesting to hear.

Robert Madge does a good job of the narration and his voice fits how I imagine Otto would sound. The story trips along at a good pace with frequent fantastical imagery, but some descriptions are overly repeated which I found annoying. For example, the 'pointless quill' of a lawyer is a great visual phrase, but I didn't need it hammered home so many times in quick succession. As is typical of fairytales, the characters are not particularly well developed, there are goodies and baddies a plenty and they tend to stick to type. I did like the Lady of the Nail and the hotel keeper is fun.

Reading other reviews, I have discovered that the printed book is illustrated by David Roberts which adds greatly to the atmosphere of the tale. Perhaps for Tinder, this would have been the better edition to experience.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Sally Gardner / Fairytales / Books from England

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