|Title: Egg and Spoon|
Author: Gregory Maguire
Read: June 2014
Published: September 9, 2014 by Candlewick
Synopsis: In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages.
Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.
This is the kind of book that defies genre specifications. I read it in June as part of my retellings theme, and while it includes elements for Russian folklore like Baba Yaga and the Firebird as well as a Prince and the Pauper vibe, there's so much more. It has elements of Historical Fiction, Fantasy, and even some distinctly dystopian elements. One things for sure, there's just something fun and entertaining about this book.
I have some experience with Gregory Maguire. I'm a big fan of the Wicked Years series and his combination of retellings with darker elements and political intrigue. Those themes are present in Egg and Spoon but unlike his other books, the target audience for this is much younger. The tone of the book is almost light-hearted with a unique narrative style. It's a third-person perspective by someone who is a secondary character in the story who comes of as an unreliable narrator giving a color commentary of the main characters actions. It was unlike anything I have experienced and really added to the fun and light-hearted feeling of the book.
I give Egg and Spoon an 8.5 out of 10
I would recommend this book to fans of complex and light-hearted retelling, someone looking for a book where they can laugh out loud but still think, and those who love Gregory Maguire and his combination of fantasy and politics. The audience for this book has been often talked about. Whether it is for more of a middle grade or young adult audience is unclear but one things for sure, it is fun and entertaining book that defies classification.
Have you read Egg and Spoon? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!