Krim Du Shaw by Talia Haven (Amazon, Goodreads)
This week, we are serving up short stories in the Starving Review kitchen. Seeking to follow the recipe of the fairy tales of old, Krim Du Shaw promises magic and something ready for reluctant readers. Will this modern fable deliver or has this recipe gotten too old to stand the test of time?
Before we answer those questions, let us bring forth Ye Olde Starving Review Laws:
- I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
- I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible
Krim is a short tale, so our examination of it will be short and to the point. In its core ingredients, this treat calls back to many of the elements of old fairy tales, and we aren’t talking about the cleansed versions many of us are more familiar with. There is a strong sense of commonality with the original Grimm’s Tales, a world of wonder but just as much darkness. In that way, Krim hits on all the right flavor notes, while being more comfortable linguistically for modern young readers.
If Krim has any flaw for a young reader, it may be simply too dark. There is a strong undercurrent of inevitable loss and destruction, and an important message about giving into temptation and how it is sometimes unavoidable. Unlike many fables, though, there is no bright spot to be found here. The ending is starkly final, which is a strangely all-too-realistic flavor of fatalism for a young reader’s meal. However, not all children are the same and there is merit to bringing such dark themes home. Still, for my tastes and trying to access my youthful mind, it takes a half-step too far.
What does this mean in the end? Krim Du Shaw is a darkly fatalistic fairy tale, but it still zings with the flavors of wonder and magic. I am frankly a bit conflicted. I think I would have no worries with letting a hypothetical child of mine read this, but I would be ready for hard questions afterward. It’s a sad, tragic tale, but a worthy one.
FINAL VERDICT: **** (A darkly fatalistic fairy tale, but still zinging with the flavors of wonder and magic!)