Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Randomly came across this book while browsing the library shelves, and thoroughly glad I did. The National Book Award Winner sticker on the cover caught my eye. This book is all about masks, and how they change people. In this book, that is taken in a literal sense. Rownie is a young boy who serves a witch who sounds a lot like the "Baba Yaga" from old fairy tales. He wants to find his brother who has disappeared so he escapes from the witch, but runs into trouble with the "law" when he gets involved with a traveling troupe of goblins who put on plays with masks, even though it is against the law. Rownie then discovers the masks are much more than just make-believe and he has an important part to play.
The atmosphere of this book was mysterious, intriguing, and beautiful. The landscape set by the words was mesmerizing and really drew me into the town. The "scary" element was indeed scary, especially with the masks, and it really kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen, and it was all very mysterious until the end. I liked the juxtaposition of an "old world" feel of witches and magic, with the "new world" feel of mechanisms and motors. I'm hoping there are sequels to this book, because the end leaves a little mystery still to be told. This book feels very much like sitting down to watch a play in a dark and magical theater, with musical and strange colors all around you.