Recommendation: Clocking in at about 3 hours per book, it’s not much of a commitment if you’re just
Where to read: In bed, under the covers
Read with: A deep sense of nostalgia
In brief: Delightful childhood fun, or disturbing portrayal of a fascist state….you decide.
Let’s be honest, I picked these up so I could pour scorn and derision down upon what appears to be Disney’s profoundly dreadful movie adaption from a position of strength. I won’t be watching the movie but ah well…
These were one of the linchpins of my early childhood reading and good lord they were fun. That said, this is the first time I have actually read them through. Books 1-3, particularly 1, remain fantastically fun. It’s a glorious mad-cap mess of Irish mythology and folklore and an interesting approach to the traditional bildungsroman.
The longer the series goes on, let’s be honest here, the weaker they get but what can you say, a girl can’t have everything. Major props for recognising that the poor kid would definitely have some mental health issues, genius aside, and for solid character development across 8 books. Major not-props for a series of very obvious continuity errors an editor (at least) should have picked up on.
There is a lot that could be said about the tacit (arguably explicit) portrayal and endorsement of police tactics one would and should now regard as somewhat questionable, and an entire PhD in the portrayal of the Lower Elements as a fascist, questionably democratic surveillance state with an ultra-militarised, disturbingly-comfortable-with-extra-judicial murder police force and an obsession with border protection encouraging and enforcing citizen compliance by stoking a fear of outsiders and secrecy. One could even make it a comparative exercise with Harry Potter, examining both works as an exploration of the use of xenophobia and media-backed paranoia in bolstering authoritarianism. But everything is depressing enough without ruining Holly Short as well.