Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: The Night of Wishes by Michael Ende

The Night of WishesThe Night of Wishes by Michael Ende
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a middle-grade book by the author of The Neverending Story. It's meant to be read in real time, meaning the events take place over the course of five hours, and it's meant to be read in five hours. I suppose if a parent read this to a child, the timeline would line up nicely.

Much of the premise of the book is younger than middle grade: a talking cat and raven, a witch and wizard who are evil because they're evil, and transparent main characters. Jacob, the raven, is clever and observant, but cowardly, while Mauriccio, the cat, is easily fooled but brave and loyal. In the end, they're rewarded for their fight to end the evil plot cooked up by their masters, Beelzebub Preposteror and Tyrannia Vampirella, Preposteror's aunt and financier.

There are some plays on words within the text, though they may have been harmed from their translation from German. Or, the fact that I'm not the target audience might've made them fall flat.

I think a 7- or 8-year old might find this perfectly entertaining as a bedtime story. Adult readers looking for the magic of The Neverending Story would do well to look elsewhere. This is far more simplistic and silly. It does have a few genre convention nods, but, overall, it doesn't stack up.

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