The Badlings 1st Edition
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"The Fifth Doll" by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series transports readers to a darkly whimsical world where strange magic threatens a quiet village. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Paperback : 268 pages
- ISBN-10 : 151439751X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1514397510
- Product Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.67 x 8 inches
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition (July 7, 2015)
- Item Weight : 13.3 ounces
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,828,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Back in the early 1970s when Saturday Morning cartoons were still a thing, there was a live action show called Lidsville by Sid and Marty Kroft. The storyline is about a boy, Mark, who falls into a magicians hat and ends up in a land of living hats. A very weird show for kids from the creators of H.R. Pufnstuf (It's rumored that the H.R. stood for Hand Rolled if that offers a hint). I nearly forgot about that show until I started The Badlings.
Belladonna wants to be a scientist much against her mother's wishes for her daughter to follow in her footsteps as a opera singer. Belladonna prefers Bells as a nickname and keeps an analytical mind. She and her three male friends Rusty, Grand, and Peacock find themselves pulled into an adventure. After meeting at the duck pond, Bells finds a book half buried, digs it up, and flings it at some nearby duck as stress relief from an argument with her mother. However, like Mark in Lidsville, Bells and her friends find themselves pulled into a world they could never imagine. Well, actually, they could imagine because it's a world of books they started but did not finish.
Anske writes intriguing fantasy and horror fiction. The stories, for the most part, seem to be for the young adult crowd with teen characters. These stories, however, can also be enjoyed by adults. Although there is an air horror in portions of the story, it is not something that is graphic or intense but a good old-fashioned scare. For those, parents and others, worried about language or adult situations, there are none. A well told and well thought out story for fans of fantasy of all ages.
Rusty and I both like doughnuts. Bells and I both don’t how to pick our fights as we choose to battle every time. Grand and I both ramble on when people don’t necessarily want to listen anymore. Sometimes I just want to be noticed, like Peacock. Ksenia Anske builds characters that may be completely different from her readers, but they always have something you can hold onto as a characteristic you can relate to. Which is good, because sometimes her storylines become entirely peculiar.
Anske is a bit like Louis Sachar in that her characters are young and whiny and whimsical. Anske is a bit like Neil Gaiman in that she crafts a story that has creative rhyme and reason to the imaginative twists. Anske is a bit like Lewis Carroll in that the reader can’t quite tell what is real and what is false. In The Badlings, Ksenia Anske gives me some of what I longed for in the Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. The Badlings is young adult and references books I’ve actually read, unlike Eyre Affair with its snooty books for adults.
The Badlings began with a neat little twist, like a less sinister (or so I thought) Jumanji that was all about books! Four kids find an object (a book) and it does something completely out of the ordinary (pulls them in). From there Anske does things a little bit differently. I appreciated the fact that there is a subtle theme for holding books sacred and that you shouldn’t just throw them here or there and that you MUST FINISH THEM or be regarded as a Badling. Everybody should strive to be a Goodling.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the whimsical imagination of Neil Gaiman or appreciates books.
Ms. Anske writes at a breathtaking pace, catapulting her pre-teen protagonists from adventure to adventure, after sucking them into a book in the first chapter. But this isn't an ordinary book. It's called 'Mad Tome' because the book is crazy. Insane. Psychopathic.
Why it's crazy and what it and the characters inside the book are trying to do about it and to the four young adventurers is for you to find out. Beg, borrow, or steal this book and read it--all the way through. That's VERY important.
Or, you can ignore this review and deprive yourself of reading pleasure.