Sunday, May 30, 2010

Children’s Books: Nieve by Terry Griggs

With eight very strong books to her credit, Terry Griggs is coming to be recognized as one of Canada’s foremost children’s storytellers (even though it was her short fiction collection, Quickening, that was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award.)

Griggs is perhaps best known for the books that make up the Cat’s Eye Corner trilogy: Cat’s Eye Corner, The Silver Door and Invisible Ink. Young readers who enjoyed those books will want to take a run at Griggs’ latest offering, Nieve (Biblioasis) being marketed to young adult and adult SF/F audiences of the sort who might also have expected to enjoy Neil Gaiman’s wonderful Coraline.

As Nieve opens, the title character is weighing the change she feels in the world: things that let her know that even the natural world is responding to what is to come. When the strangers arrive trailing night behind them, Nieve’s friends begin to disappear. Nieve puts together an ill-sorted band of reluctant heros who follow the strangers to the Black City, where people are transformed into things.

I liked Nieve even more than I expected and it does not seem the least ironic for me to say that this is a more mature work than Griggs’ previous offerings for children. While we still find some of Griggs’ trademark humor, Nieve is more somber, more introspective and certainly more thoughtful than earlier works by this very talented author.

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