It starts with this faint sound that pulls me out of sleep: a sort of calliope music played on an ensemble of toy instruments. You know, as though there’s a raggedy orchestra playing quietly in some hidden corner of my bedroom, like the echo of a Tom Waits song heard through the walls from the apartment next door.
The blue girl of the title is Imogene, one of the narrators of this book. She and her family have just moved to a new neighbourhood in Newford, and Imogene is determined not to cause trouble. Not everyone wants her to fit in though. At her new school she is picked on by the “popular crowd” although never to the extent that her best friend Maxine is. And of course talking with ghost is never a very normal thing to do. Still, unless trouble comes looking for her Imogene won’t go looking for it. But there’s the rub, trouble, in the form of the school’s resident fairy population, does come looking for her and it isn’t everyday teenage hassle either. No, the fairies bring with them the probability of death.
If you browse through any fantasy section you are bound to come across at least one book by Charles de Lint, he seems to have an army of them, and so far the ones I’ve read by him are all more than enjoyable. This is more aimed at the teenage market, but it still has the wonderful prose that I’ve come to associate with de Lint’s novels. I wasn’t quite so impressed with the plot, it seemed a little rushed and over before it had begun, but the characters and writing made up for that. And despite the fact that I haven’t read all that many books by de Lint I got the distinct hint that some of the peripheral characters in this book have a larger role to play elsewhere in the Newford ‘verse. It is always a plus when an author hints at a much larger universe than what is contained in one book.
And I really like de Lint’s take on the fairy character, and Pelly is both creepy and likeable at the same time. Who could ask for more. Another thumbs up for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge.