Verdict: The Toadhouse Trilogy is a majestically woven and sensual adventure into literature.
The Toadhouse Trilogy begins like a lyrical but ominous dream sequence, where a rat-faced man man warns young Aine, the protagonist, that “there is one uglier than me, fair child, uglier than a hundred of me. And he’s coming for you.”
Aine hears her mother’s voice and quickly crosses an “ethereal curtain” with her baby brother in her arms – all the while continuing to hear the warning that the reign of King Finvarra will come to an end because of the “marked child.” As the tale continues, Aine appears to be an ordinary teenager living in Alabama with her blind brother Spenser, and their grandmother Glori. However, when a “monstrosity of a man” murders Glori in a spectacular battle; an enchanted world of living books is unleashed. Aine and Spenser must, with the help of their guardian Gilgamesh, discover the clues in different books that will destroy the creature named Biblos.
Jess Lourey’s spellbinding world comes to life with a sensual, vivid narrative filled with fresh, luxurious images that captivates the reader: “The sky is the color of blueberries and cream.” The intricate plot slowly unwraps a complex mystery that involves traveling in and out of literary classics such as The Time Machine, A Tale of Two Cities, Sinbad and The Ramayana.Each literary journey unites Aine and Spenser with the characters of the book, creating some almost-comical interactions as Aine tries to manipulate the likes of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, when she is in need of medical help for her brother.
Lourey’s characters are dynamic and palpable; their descriptions are intense but also have a soulful quality about them: “Her flesh tingles then stretches, and it feels like a million little butterflies are kissing her tenderest flesh.” Also, “He is a puppy of a boy, blind since birth.” The description of evil is terrifyingly simple: “Bilbos has developed a taste for the ankles and feet of sleeping children, along with other despicable distractions.”
The Toadhouse Trilogy is a majestically woven and sensual adventure into literature.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
Purchase The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One from Amazon