A final dreadful battle is coming to Elfame—can Shade and her companions save the day?
War is coming to Elfame! The uneasy truce between the Seelie Court and the Sluagh Horde is in trouble as nobles on both sides push King Julius and Queen Modthryth to attack while amongst the common fairy folk the Brother/Sisterhood of Afflicted and Repressed Fairies (B.A.R.F.) plans a revolution.The one chance Elfame may have to maintain the peace is a fairy raid organized by Prince Beow of the Sluagh and Princess Viola of the Seelie. But when the two are kidnapped, it's up to Shade, Ginch, and the Professor to save them and prevent the fairy lands from descending into chaos. Can a junior librarian and a pair of con artists stop a civil war? (Seems like a pretty tall order.) Will Elfame see a final, epic showdown between the Seelie and Sluagh? (Well, this is the third book in a fantasy series, so it's kind of required, but then again this is also dreadful fantasy series, so…?) Will Quacksworth and Etter finally get along? (The Magic 8-Ball says, "Outlook not so good.")
First of all, Amberjack Publishing, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, makes a gorgeous book! the cover is a rich and pearly white, and I love the dotted border around each page, the fonts...truly they are a publisher for people who love books as objects as well as for content.
Adam Horsepool's illustrations are simply divine:
But the story itself is (and I'm sure I used the same word in my review of the second book) a rollicking good time. Now, you may think I'm just being lazy by reusing such a word, but trust me, rollicking is exactly the perfect description.
It's not just amusing, it's exuberantly amusing. I aboslutely love the humor and word play, with some jokes aimed perhaps at an adult reading the book aloud (see chapter: In which the author risks getting sued by the estates of Abbott & Costello...) whereas others are solidly in the kid-humor camp, such as the Brother/Sisterhood of Afflicted and Repressed Fairies, also known as B.A.R.F., who very nearly named themselves Fairies Against Royal Tyranny.
It's hard for me to judge the "stand-aloneness" of this book, since I've read the previous books, but my impression is that a new reader would be able to jump right in to this story without too much confusion.
Three books in three years is a stiff undertaking, but Jon Etter has managed to maintain the same wonderful voice, taut writing, and dramatic plotline as we've come to expect. Honestly, sometimes I've found with other series, the first books start out strong, but the energy tends to peter out by the final book. I get it--writing a series is a huge undertaking, and one i have not managed to yet do myself. But that is not the case with the Dreadfuls. Each one is just as rich and entertaining as the last. Don't take my word for it, Quentin Q. Quacksworth, our judgy narrator, proclaimed:
That said, I think what you have written is rather in keeping with the rest of the books and not...well, completely dreadful.
And if you know Mr. Quacksworth, you will understand the enormity of that statement.
If that is not enough to convince you, Jon Etter is a wonderful human and a vocal advocate for kids everywhere. Check out my interview with Jon Etter last year.
"Needs more cats." ~AnnaConda Wade, Cat Reviewer
Copyright © 2021 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com