The nice Riveted rep that sent me a box of ARCs (for the KUCLC event about a month ago) referred to Catherynne M. Valente's The Glass Town Game as a brick. It is that - over 500 pages. But, oh, what a brick it is!
When Emily and Charlotte Bronte are sent back to Cowan Bridge school, the boarding school where their older sisters died, their brother, Branwell, and youngest sister, Anne, walk them to the train station. It is the Beastliest of Days and they play one of their favorite games on the way, the Game of And. Not as complicated as the Glass Town Game which employed all of Branwell's wooden soldiers, the Game of And was played by imagining the most delightful or nonsensical things and challenging the other players to match or top them.
When they get to the station, the things they imagined on the way, and things they imagined in the past, have become real! All four children board the train, using buttons as tickets, and ride to Glass Town with the wooden soldiers, come alive. Glass Town is at war. The forces of Wellie (the Duke of Wellington) and Boney (Napoleon Bonaparte) fight and die and come to life again.
When Anne and Branwell are stolen away by one of Boney's spies - made of magazines and newspapers - Emily and Charlotte must find them. Meanwhile, Anne and Branwell find the kidnapped Princess Victoria, the cause of this awful war.
At first, everything they see comes from one of their play adventures. As the story progresses, the adventures spin out of control. The four wonder if they will ever be reunited and if they will ever see their father and home again.
As I read, I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Wizard of Oz. Each town in Glass Town has peculiarities and a specific type of resident. The publishers and book sellers in Ochropolis deliver some of the funniest dialogue in the book. Valente uses fanciful descriptions and eccentric language that adds a sense of time and place. I can't wait to see the book when it comes out in September. I hope for illustration - just a few - that are as whimsical as the story is.
I am giving this book away (with others). Click here to learn more about this giveaway. And to enter.