This book is set in a fantasy world, and in our world. It follows the life of Matyas in the fantasy world. He is the son of an inn Keeper and he wants more from life. Like exploring magic and learning how to fly. Then there is Simon in our world, a troubled child. But his parts are actually more about his dad. How he grows up wanting to be normal, falling in love with someone not normal, and having Simon. And wanting him to be normal too. Cos the Wisdoms are not a normal family. They see things.
I did enjoy the fantasy part more, I do love fantasy so that makes sense. It was an interesting world, interesting magic system and how the tarot cards were everywhere. Matyas on the other hand was an idiot at times, filled with hybris and more. But that did not matter cos it was how he was and it worked.
Simon's parts were more sad. He wanted to please his dad. But nightmares, knowing things, he was just so young and his dad should have told him the truth. And it's here we see more of those missing children. What is going on? How are the worlds connected?
Conclusion: Fantasy, and paranormal. Two worlds, different POVS, it all makes it into an interesting mix.
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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.
A terrific fantasy tale for young adults, The Child Eater is intelligently constructed, magically written and as addictive as chocolate cake. With cream and sprinkles.
There are some dark themes running through the narrative, but it also has a wonderful spiritual feel to the whole thing that keeps you immersed into the magic even in the darker moments – as we follow Matyas, living in a world very different to our own, who is bound and determined to become a master wizard and fly, his journey is one of wonder and a sprinkling of horror. In our world Jack and Simon Wisdom struggle with the loss of Simon’s mother and with the strange occurrences that surround Simon. These two boys are connected in ways that they will never know and only together can they defeat The Child Eater – a creature who was born in myth and is surrounded by mystery.
Rachel Pollack has created a rich vein of mythology and magic, woven a web of enchanting and evocative storytelling and given her characters heart and soul, which makes the whole reading experience one of contemplation along with the pure adrenalin rush that comes from a novel that you sink into during the time you are there. Matyas and Simon are both very real, in their emotions, their thought processes and their individuality – Matyas walks a fine line between honour and selfishness and Simon has to find a way to accept who he is whilst not destroying his family. It is emotive stuff at times but always always fascinating and unpredictable.
For me this is the type of storytelling that is perfect for around the campfire – toasting marshmallows and jumping at shadows – and also perfect for the new generation of readers and their parents, a wonderful tale, flush with illusion and reality and overall I would highly recommend it for lovers of Fantasy everywhere.
In The Child Eater, we have a novel that follows two separate strands of a story, two different sets of characters, in two worlds separated by time and magic. The stories are linked by The Tarot of Eternity (much, much more than a pack of cards), and by the threat of The Child Eater.
The villain of the piece is well named, and the book contains some descriptions of body parts and mutilation, and a sense of threat and helplessness. Despite the age of the protagonists, this is not a book for teenagers, although it should not be beyond the reach of the keen young reader.
Pollack presents us with three imperfect heroes. In the modern day, 'real world' strand of the story, we are introduced to Jack Wisdom, a child with unusual abilities who learns to stifle his gifts, and grows up to become father to Simon, another extraordinarily talented child who hides his skills because of his father's fears and insecurities. Both characters are prey to enormous self doubt and guilt, which works to the advantage of their fated enemy, The Child Eater.
Meanwhile, way back in the past, we meet Matyas, the battered and unloved child of an innkeeper, who one day discovers his destiny and goes in search of it. Matyas has a good dollop of self loathing in his psyche too, but is blessed with a lot more confidence than Jack and Simon, and as he rises to his own power, he encounters the story, and the reality, of The Child Eater and the Tarot of Eternity that ties everything together.
The two stories work in different ways. Whilst Jack and Simon seem to be helpless in the face of danger, Matyas is blithely unaware of it, as he grows in knowledge, power and rank.
In contrast to the human and imperfect men in the story, the female characters are spiritual and almost supernaturally forgiving. The women and girls are there in supporting roles, and the support they give is vital and integral to the plot.
I found this an easy book to read, and although it wasn't a gripping page turner, I was drawn back to it consistently, admittedly more for the plot than the characters, who I found to be unsympathetic. My main problem with the characters was that they didn't grow or learn much from their experiences until the end of the book. It was frustrating to see them make the same mistakes again and again. The plot made up for it. I wanted to know who The Child Eater was, why he existed, and if he could be defeated. I'm happy to say that all these questions were answered in a very satisfactory manner. I would recommend this book to the reader of fantasy, but beware, there are no dragons here.
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This splendid, devastatingly simple yet profound book reveals the seemingly separate lives of Matyas, an apprentice magician and Simon, a boy with troubling visions. This is finest and wisest of Rachel Pollack’s novels, in my opinion. The spare, sureness of the language reveals a mythic framework in which the Tarot of Eternity figures in miraculous ways. I read right through the sultry night unto the very end of this wise story. Beauty, clarity and passion meet together in the heart of primordial reality, giving the reader a sense of profound felicity.