*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, NetGalley and Farrago. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: If you go down to the woods today, be sure of a big surprise.
The Battle of Nearby Village is over, and deep in the Darkwood, Gretel and her friends journey into the hostile mountains of the north, seeking new allies in their fight against the huntsmen. There they find Gilde the Bear Witch, along with a Werewolf named Scarlett and a winged man named Hex. Meanwhile, Hansel and Daisy set off on a dangerous trip of their own to the Citadel, where they end up in the middle of a political battle for the future of the whole country.
Can Gretel and her friends persuade Gilde to join forces, or at least stop fighting them at every step? Can Hansel find a way to heal the land’s divisions and make the huntsmen change their ways before disaster strikes them all? And how did Trevor the spider get hold of a wig? Discover the answers to all these questions and more in Such Big Teeth.
Venture into the Darkwood in this modern fairy tale that will bewitch adults and younger readers alike.
If you haven’t already read Darkwood, the first in this series, then make sure you do that first! The characters and storyline pick up here from where that book left off, and without the context you just won’t get the full flavour of this deliciously clever fairytale re-imagining.
Hansel and Gretel are back, but not together. Gretel is firmly stranded in the Darkwood with the ‘witches’ and other things that go bump in the night, while Jack is still in Nearby Village, trying to make sense of what happened with the Huntsmen while he was temporarily indisposed. Luckily they both have their trusty allies – Daisy, Buttercup, Snow and the dwarfs (Yummy!), Trevor, Patience and Jack – to help them out as they set out on very different paths.
Gretel is heading for the outskirts of the kingdom, looking for some animal-witches (think of fairytales involving wolves, ravens and bears) to help them fight the Huntsmen. Meanwhile, Hansel and Daisy head straight for the heart of the kingdom, to try to find out what the Huntsmen are really up to. With one sibling facing claws, teeth and unfamiliar magic and the other dealing with politicians and campaign rallies, it’s really hard to say who has it worse!
Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch takes good, old-fashioned fairytales, shakes them out, dusts them down and then with a quick sleight of hand produces a glorious patchwork quilt of a story that blends old and new, pathos and humour, action and intrigue, and even a touch of sweet romance. I raved about her first book but, if anything, this second one is even better!
Ideal for children and adult readers alike, this series would make a great Christmas gift for fans of clever, light-hearted, whimsical fantasy adventures. I can’t wait for the next instalment!
Hansel casts another glance at the hundred or so baskets stacked high onto the laden cart. It doesn’t look particularly inconspicuous.– Gabby Hutchinson Crouch, Such Big Teeth
‘We’re going to look just like basket merchants, come to sell Mum’s wares at the craft market.’
‘Pretty sure at this point we are actually basket merchants, here to sell your Mum’s stuff at the craft market.’
‘Exactly! It’s making Mum some money and it’s a cast-iron disguise.’
‘I thought your main disguise was that bonnet?’
Daisy grins proudly from the edge of her straw bonnet. As Mrs Wicker warned, it really does draw attention to her more than it hides her.
‘They’re both cast-iron disguises,’ she says. ‘Or, one’s iron, one’s carbon, and together they make for a steel disguise.’
They trundle the cart along some more.
‘Because steel’s an iron-carbon alloy,’ she adds.
‘And it’s stronger than iron. Oh, listen to me, rattling on about the relative tensile strengths of different metals and alloys, like me and Gretel used to do in the old days.’
Hansel shoots her a fond glance. ‘It’s fine. I like it. It’s as if she’s still around.’
Such Big Teeth is out on Amazon right now.