Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.
September 18, 2022
“Odd Magics: Tales For The Lost,” by Sarah Hoyt, Goldport Press, 2022, 105 pages, $8.99 (Paperback), $4.99 (Ebook)
Fairy tales served as medieval entertainment. They were cautionary tales, with advice about how to live your life as much as fables. They were not just for children.
“Odd Magics: Tales For The Lost,” by Sarah Hoyt, are a dozen updated fairy tales, snatched from traditional roots and garbed in modern clothing. Hoyt has taken stories you read as children, giving them her unique spin.
They are all there, The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and seven more. No longer set in Never-Neverland, they take place in twenty-first century America (mostly Colorado).
They are delightfully weird. Some start out with the protagonist wondering if they might be hallucinating or imagining things. There is often no other way to explain what occurs in our world; a giant frog dropping out of the sky, a missing glass slipper, oddly-behaving mirrors. Others begin normally before seguing into something remarkable: trips into fairyland or an enchanted ball, discovering your beloved is a fairy-tale dwarf.
A few start normally, but with a fairy-tale plot. In one a husband and wife going through a divorce rediscover their love for each other. In another, a man alienated from his father rediscovers the magic – in a figurative sense – in the old family farm, abandoning the fast lane in New York City to return.
As with the original fairy tales, these stories have lessons. They show the importance of family and love. (Most end with the “happily-ever after” enumerating the children the featured couple later have.) They underscore the impermanence of life. They demonstrate the futility of blindly pursuing material gain or current fashion. Indeed, Hoyt highlights traditional values with these stories.
This is a book for all ages. A teen or tween could benefit from the lessons that subversively undermine the siren song of today’s Woke society. They may not realize they are reading something more than an entertaining story. Yet you have to be an adult to appreciate all the nuances Hoyt layers into each story. Each story is a morality play concealed within entertainment innocent enough to read to a child.
These stories were originally published on Hoyt’s blog, over the course of several years. If you are a regular reader of it, you will not find anything new here, although it is collected into one body. For those who missed reading them there “Odd Magics” is a delightful read, worth the time to explore.
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com. It appeared in a different form in American Essence magazine and Epoch Times.