Ryan, Josh, and Chelle are stuck in a crummy town without bus fare. Cleverly, Josh climbs down the run-down wishing well and scoops up enough coinage for bus fair. (This is in England, where there are pound coins (worth about two dollars), so this does make sense.) Unfortunately, they weren’t clever enough to take into account the wish-granting being (spirit, deity, whatever) and very quickly find themselves over their head with ungranted wishes for Harley Davidsons and robot toys.
Sounds fun and light, right?
Starts out fun and light. A hundred pages in I was still thinking it was a simple, sweet fantasy story. Nothing special, just an enjoyable read.
And then it gets dark and complex and very good. The emotional issues are rich and compelling, and nicely balanced by the action. The characters are somewhat over the top, but it works – the humor they provide is an excellent balance for the silent menace which manifests itself in ordinary objects and places. It’s not that you forget that they’re slightly ridiculous or that those shopping carts are seriously creepy, it’s that the story wouldn’t feel whole without both. Because really, even fantasy needs to reflect our world, in all its ridiculous, creepy complexity. It’s just that sometimes, fantasy looks at the world upside-down and it looks different from there.