Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Earlie King And The Kid In Yellow by Danny Denton

The Earlie King And The Kid In Yellow by Danny Denton
Published in the UK by Granta today, the 25th January 2018.

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ireland is flooded, derelict. It never stops raining. The Kid in Yellow has stolen the babba from the Earlie King. Why? Something to do with the King's daughter, and a talking statue, something godawful. And from every wall the King's Eye watches. And yet the city is full of hearts-defiant-sprayed in yellow, the mark of the Kid.

It cannot end well. Can it? Follow the Kid, hear the tale. Roll up! Roll up!

The Earlie King and The Kid In Yellow is a tour de force of writing! Danny Denton's prose is frequently breathtaking and I loved his vision of a perpetually rainsoaked future Dublin where roads and buildings are flooded, whole estates have been lost to the sea and, in places, it is only possible to get along the motorway by boat. I could imagine every dismal day in this land where the rain has been falling for years and I certainly wouldn't want to have to live there! The Earlie King is set within a criminal underworld so we see glimpses of what remains of working society, but spend more time in dingy pubs or dank tower block apartments. I could almost hear the dripping water and smell the mould on the walls! Violence and drug addiction is commonplace and the gang to which you belong is more important than the family you might have left.

I would describe this novel as a dark urban fairytale. There aren't really magical elements but myths and half-remembered stories swirl around. Some characters might not actually exist and it is difficult to see what is truly real through the rainmist and rustweeping. I loved Denton's use of compound words throughout this story and his periodic slides into poetry too. I wasn't sure, however, about the few scenes which are written as play scripts. Are we supposed to see the whole tale as a play? Or is a play being staged after the fact to retell the Kid In Yellow's story until it becomes more memory than truth? Perhaps that has already happened!

The characters themselves I thought had an unreal feeling about them and this also led me to think of The Earlie King as a fairytale. I liked the point of view switches. Sometimes we hear directly from a character, other times we have a third person viewpoint, and the novel proceeds at a thrilling pace pretty much all the way through. The reading speed was increased in my ebook edition by numerous pages of greyscale illustrations however, other than the rain pages, I don't think the pictures appeared properly on my Kindle so I can't comment on how effective they really are.

I think The Earlie King and The Kid In Yellow should go rushing up the bestseller lists this Spring! It is an unusual reading experience, but one that shouldn't be missed!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Danny Denton / Dystopian fiction / Books from Ireland


  1. Even though you loved this one, I don't think it is one for me. But I am glad you could love it and brilliant review! I've only read a few books set in Ireland but I love the scenery every time words take me there.

    1. It's pretty intense dystopia! I just want to frame that striking cover art!