Nov 20, 2009

Jack of Kinrowan

by Charles de Lint

This book was only vaguely familiar to me when I first added it to my pile at the library, but after reading a dozen pages and thumbing through more, I realized I've actually read it before. And didn't want to read it again, now. But I remember enough to tell you a little about it.

Jack of Kinrowan contains two novellas, Jack the Giant-Killer and Drink Down the Moon. These are urban fantasies, retelling Jack and the Beanstalk in a modern setting where the fae live alongside but hidden from the human world. One of the twists of de Lint's version is that a heroine takes the role of Jack- a frustrated woman named Jacqueline who discovers she has ties to the fae world and gets involved in altercations between the "good" and "bad" factions of magical beings. There's a fae princess who needs rescuing (she's been bewitched into the form of a pig!) motorcycle-riding fae thugs, and of course, giants and gnomes and other strange creatures. I liked seeing how some familiar mythology was reworked by de Lint, with his own take on things along the way- for example, when the fae were trapped between worlds by their enemies, they were stuck with swan's wings instead of arms. In the first story, Jacky and her friend Kate go on the rescue mission, that I recall pretty well. The second story didn't make much impression on me and I've forgotten most of it. It's about a fiddler who can draw on the powers of the moon, the bad fae want to steal this magic, and Jacky and her friend get called in to help. But they have a relatively minor role. All in all a fun enough read.

Rating: 3/5                    412 pages, 1990

More opinions at:
The Boston Reader
anyone else?


Nymeth said...

I've been meaning to read this for a very long time. Everyone tells me it's not one of De Lint's best, but...fairy tales!

Jeane said...

Funny that a lot of readers think this is one of his lesser works, yet its the only one I've really enjoyed so far.