Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review: The Midnight Folk by John Masefield

     Kay Harker is a very normal young boy. He likes getting dirty and daydreaming, and finds his school lessons to be very boring. He is under the care of a foolish, pompous guardian and an overly-strict governess, who constantly punishes him for normal child behavior.

     Then, one night, Kay is surprised when one of the household cats, Nibbins, comes through a secret passage in his room and offers to take him to see a witches’ coven. There, Kay learns of the magic midnight folk, those that only come out at night. It appears the witches’ coven is looking for the treasure Kay’s seafaring ancestor lost long ago.

     Soon, Kay is thrown into a series of dream-like adventures, where paintings become portals, governesses are witches, and the Knights of the Round Table ride at night, seeking to undermine a terrible plot at the house.

     This is such a strange book, but that’s what makes it perfect as a children’s fantasy. Dream-like is the perfect word; if it wasn’t for certain elements being noticed in Kay’s normal, everyday life, it would seem as though everything that happens to him are nothing but dreams. And perhaps they are, on some level; sometimes the adventures end when he begins waking up, yet his clothes are rumpled and dirty from whatever quest he was on.

     I normally hate it when a book isn’t divided into chapters (mainly for ease of finding a stopping place), but I didn’t mind this in the least. Although it did cause me to read far more than I intended, with no reminder of how far I had gone. Ah, well. Reading-induced sleep deprivation is okay.

     This book definitely comes highly recommended. I don’t care if people think you’re weird for reading children’s books. They’re probably in league with Abner Brown anyways, and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

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