Drew Hayes takes on Brothers Grim, and it’s surprisingly good.
I had this book on pre-order for two months, waiting for it to finally come out.
Through the Super Powereds book series I was introduced to the amazing and intriguing writing of Drew Hayes, finishing as much as I could of that series I moved on to his other releases and series, such as Fred The Vampire Accountant, and NPCs …All of his book series are amazing, all of his standalone books are great, and so he has quickly become my favourite author. Thus, any new release by Drew Hayes, I will be getting and listening to as soon as possible.
This particular book is a stand-alone book, thus not part of any series so far, but there is potential to be part of its own series.
This novel has a style quite different to the other books. He’s taken on a kind of Brothers Grim like storytelling, tackling the classic fairy tales with a hint of the NPCs realisation theme mixed in, meaning the characters in the book know that there are forces at work that govern their world, and in this particular story, they refer to it themselves as ‘the narrative’. Ie. “The narrative is with us” “if the narrative is with us..?.. then..we will be ok”
Here’s the plot summary from the publisher:
When your fairy godmother threatens to enslave you with a curse – when a malevolent piper solves your rat problem but steals your children – when you seek revenge on the prince who turned you into a frog – who can you turn to in your hour of need? The band of scoundrels known far and wide as the Bastard Champions – the swashbuckling trio who travel a world of legend, seeking adventure and righting wrongs – as long as there’s enough gold to be earned. They are Jack, the seemingly unkillable leader whose ever-present grin belies a dark past; Marie, who fights with fury but battles more fiercely to control the beast within; and Frank, the master of logistics, whose cloak hides horrific scars that are far more than skin-deep. As they slash and scheme through kingdom and village alike, the Bastard Champions uncover tantalizing clues to their ultimate quarry: the powerful Blue Fairy, who has made each of their lives a living hell.
Second Hand Curses adds a dash of sly wit and a heaping portion of action to the fairy tales you thought you knew.
Unlike other series of his that is voiced and narrated all by one person. (Different for the different series) , Second Hand Curses is narrated by 3 different people.
I honestly really liked this. The female characters sound a bit more genuine, as they’re actually voiced by a female, and the male voices seem to fit the characters very well.
The actual style of voice, but I guess a little bit of the style of writing for the narrator’s speaking is like that of the narrator of the TV show Pushing Daisies, it has that kind of detached but also informative air about it.
Note. (there is the voice of the characters and then there is a narrator too which explains the segments of the story that the characters don’t voice themselves or that gives background to the characters)
The characters are quite deep, but like many previous books not much is given away at the start, because as the author has said in an interview…”you don’t need to know this information at the start, you wouldn’t know this information all at one go in real life, but it’s beat to explore this as the story goes on”.
This, the characters DO have a lot of depth to them but have mysterious backgrounds that this particular books has only scratched the surface of.
For the 3 main characters, Frank, Jack, and Marie.
I don’t want to give away too much, yet Jack is the fabled Jack from Jack and the beanstalk, but also the very same Jack which jumped over the candle stick, the nimble, the quick.
This world the author has made is one that all these fables happen in the same space.
Also for example the 1st client of the trio is none other than Cinderella.
With Hayes telling the non-Disney, obviously darker version of the story focusing on the deal with the fairy godmother who turns out to be not as nice as the Disney depiction of the story.
Frank is the end culmination of Frankenstein’s monster. Inferring that what you see from the original story is how he originally came to be, but not where he went afterwards.
Thus the back story for Frank is pretty impressive, pretty dark and also pretty sad at times.
Marie is a princess that you’ve or rather I’ve never heard of, which is burdened with a curse that turns her into a ravenous beast.
Together they form the ‘Bastard Champions’ who take on dangerous jobs for cash which ultimately ours them on a path to confront a powerful entity, ‘the blue fairy’. Someone that has had a large negative impact on all of their lives.
Yes, for sure.
Although it has to be noted that the genre is a little weird, normally you would classify it as fantasy, but it’s more fable, but re-imagined, reinvigorated fable stories.
I would say with a dark twist, but in reality it is the Disney like fairy tales that re-imagined the classic Brothers Grim fables in such a positive light that we all think they’re all meant to have a ‘happy ever after’ story to them.
The book is probably appropriate for 12 and over. There are some dark things that are alluded to, but most of these things are not actually gone into in any real graphic detail.
It’s an easy listen, which is also good.
There’s nothing wrong with this book, however compared to the other Drew Hayes books, it’s a little short,…Even though it’s still 9 hours long. That being said, you may be listening to this if you haven’t listened to any of his books before.
And this is a perfect entrance to his writing.
Get a free trial of audible with 2 free books, listen to books like this for free, & then if you want….just quit before 30 days & you get to keep everything… sounds like a pretty good deal to me.