Uncertain Destination – Paul Vincent Rodriguez’ “The Tale of Aynil the Traveler”

Description by the author / blurb (taken from here):

Aynil (pronounced eye-nil) is the rarest of all fairies – a Traveler.
Because fairies rarely travel outside a small radius around their
homes, it is the job of the traveler to go where the spirit pulls him
and live as long as is necessary to find the special message he was
sent to learn. Aynil’s life is one of constantly adapting to new
environments, of learning new cultures, and of frustration that comes from wondering if he will ever go home. The story he shared spans
fifteen human years of his life and includes the three most important
experiences he had while on the wing.
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Review

This is already the third review in the “Tales of Fairies”-series I’m doing. I think for a better understanding it’s necessary to recall the category system I originally came up with in the „Darvin the Nerd“ review. Therein I drew a line of separation in the books for kids open to a broader age audience. I divided them either into the long and complex storyline and chronological character unfolding, as can be seen in „Harry Potter“ – or else the slim tale, which is not mainly defined by a progressing storyline, and in which parts of story surround the core of what might be an existential feeling or a message. For the latter category I found the example of „The Little Prince“ best suited.
It has been easy to insert „Darvin the Nerd“ and „Rebecca the Chased“ into that system of mine. With „Darvin“, it’s the message that holds the central place, with „Rebecca“, it’s the existential experience – with „Aynil the Traveler“, it’s the message again.  Continue reading

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Mundane puberty – Paul Vincent Rodriguez’ “The Tale of Rebecca the Chased”

Description by the author / blurb (taken from here):

As a young girl, Rebecca (not Becky or Becca or Reba) had a strong eem with her single mother. An eem is the connection fairies share that is strong or weak depending on how close the relationship is with the fairy with whom they are communicating. Michelle, Rebecca’s mother, was grooming her only child from an early age to be a proper fairy who could eventually land a wealthy husband. But Rebecca didn’t care about any of that. She was smart, athletic, and wanted to do things here way. As Rebecca grows and becomes more independent, her eem with her mother suffers until their relationship is nearly shattered. Rebecca shares the story of her more formative years – those from kindergarten through middle school – and the events and relationships that most shaped her life and affected the power of her eem with her mother.
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Review

It’s hard for me to understand why „Rebecca the Chased“ should have been written as a fairy tale. There is very little of a fairy tale about it. It would have been possible very easily, with just some minor changes, to set the story up in our everyday world instead of the secretive fairy world. „Darvin the Nerd“ became a tooth-fairy and made some experiences that passed distinctly beyond the horizon of everyday experience. „Aynil the Traveler“ would even meet Death herself. The athletic Rebecca enjoys many a game of Touch-and-Go in the booklet – „a flying game that humans might equate to a combination of Tag and Hide-and-Seek“. Just by taking the wings off the players, it would be just that. Rebecca is exactly facing the issues that every other teen girl in our non-fairy world faces. Except that fairies don’t share the human problem of „hair growing out of weird parts of their bodies“, as the author duly notes. Continue reading

Shades of grey – Paul Vincent Rodriguez’ “The Tale of Darvin the Nerd”

Description by the author / blurb (taken from here):

“Wait, I feel a duh coming on,” was Darvin’s favorite method of insulting less intelligent fairies. His father always said “if it’s not right, it’s wrong” which made Darvin’s world very black and white. He was not a total nerd but still suffered the wrath of the school bullies until he and his posse stood up for themselves. But his over confidence would land him in a worse spot – trapped in a dog kennel by an equally smart human boy. Darvin’s attempts to talk his way free are useless so he spends his time in prison exploring all the technology available to us humans. He is exposed to advertising and social media and email and begins to see the many levels of gray that dominate human life. Darvin becomes friends with a human and is angered when the boy comes home from school with a black eye courtesy of the school bully. Darvin promises to help the boy get revenge but realizes that the bully doesn’t have it so good either.

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Review

Harry Potter has shown once and for all that novels need not be small to convert television freaks to book nerds. I remember reading that J.K. Rowling was told in her first rejection letters that her book simply exceeded the scope of a children’s book. Wrong they were.
„Darvin the Nerd“ is just a small book and it was meant to be such to attract those who shy away from heavy tomes to reading. I think this is an unnecessary move. If the tome glows with its own magic, it will attract everyone and dispel no one. And „Harry Potter“ could precisely attract an adult audience as well because it offered what a book requires a certain length to offer: a long-stretched story arc and character portraits that are progressively completed along the arc.
  Continue reading