Wednesday, December 2, 2015
In The Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente
The Night Garden starts with a girl who's thought to be a demon, and a young prince. They meet, and the girl offers to tell him a story that's been inked onto her eyes. And so the book begins...
Each story is strange and fantastical, and the characters inside tell each other stories too. Sometimes, those stories have stories in them. But as I read on, I realised that the stories were all connected to each other - some featured the common character, some had characters from previous stories, they all linked back into one big story. It made me wonder how all these stories would link to the little girl and the young prince.
Speaking of the two, they're mostly the vehicles for the various stories to be told. They have a little story of their own, mainly the prince trying to sneak out, but they didn't really come to life for me. I'm interested in reading the next book, though, so I'll see if their story continues to develop, or if they're nothing more than just characters on which the stories are displayed.
The stories themselves are rich and dark. The kind that I like, and I don't think there's much more I can say about it.
One note about the language: The book is written in an extremely descriptive style, and I think it's either a love-it-or-hate-it type of thing. I've been reading more streamlined stuff recently, which may be why I didn't mind taking a break and jumping into some purple prose. But if you don't want to read about how cruel hearts are like "a smoldering blade, hissing steam", you may want to give this book a miss.
Overall, I liked it. The stories themselves were enchanting, and when I get the time, I intend to borrow the next book and continue reading.