I have rather a soft spot for this author. Why? Because he’s a bit dark and twisty, that’s the simple truth of it, and I’m rather fond of dark and twisty tales. If you enjoy Neil Gaiman’s dark, twistiness, you will also love Sebastian Gregory – I guarantee it. I read and loved The Boy in the Cemetery some time ago so was thrilled to be asked to read and review this collection of dark and gruesome poems.
Before I tell you what the blurb says, I want to quote part of the ‘About the author’ section at the back as this just sums it up for me… ‘Sebastian writes for the younger readers as they are easier to terrify than the adults whose imagination died long ago…’ Please, don’t be one of THOSE adults. You’ll miss out on so much.
What the blurb says:
A boy made of hair, a girl who finds a monster under her bed and takes it to school, triplets born with the faces of pigs, a boy who cannot die but rots away, a passed away Grandfather sharing the secrets of the dead, a lady who whispers from her home in the wall, a child trapped in a mirror…
They are all here, join them if you dare.
Amazing, eh? These ‘horribles’ are just addictive. How on earth can you not be lured in by a poem that begins:
‘Ten Victorian children playing amongst a long lost shrine,
One disturbs the cursed seal,
Then there are nine…’
Whereas the rhythm is reminiscent of an innocent, U rated tale with a happy ending, the subject matter itself is pretty gruesome. And that’s one of the reasons that they work so well. The reassuringly familiar is underpinned by the jarring stories these poems actually tell. I kept thinking ‘Oh, my daughter would like this one’ only to read the next and actually shudder.
Similarly, in amongst Hairboy and some of Gregory’s unique characters some familiar names pop up. But although you may think you know what to expect, you (probably) couldn’t be more wrong: ‘Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack impales victims with a sharpened stick’ and my own particular favourite: ‘Snow White and her seven disfigured dwarfs, Grumpy, Stumpy, Scar and Smell, Bile, File and Boils, all sharing a cell’.
And if you think these stories are all based in or inspired by, Fairy Land, think again. Anyone else out there a Gaming Widow? Or have a teenager addicted to their Xbox? Maybe they should read these too…
‘Still holding the game pad in bloodied, fingerless stumps;
Lights flashed from the television and music loudly pumped,
Aaron’s eyes had melted in their sockets…’
So, if you fancy a short stroll on the Dark Side, dive in for only 99p: The Unfortunate Tale of Hairboy and other Horribles
And for a slightly longer ramble into Darkness, I highly recommend The Boy in the Cemetery: The Boy in the Cemetery
You can follow Sebastian Gregory on Twitter @wordsbyseb or on Facebook.
I will now do my utmost to convince the author that he’d really like to send me The Asylum for Fairy-tale Creatures
😉 Watch this space…