Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Dyerville Tales Blog Tour & Giveaway

In 2011, M. P. Kozlowsky released his debut novel, Juniper Berry.  I was excited to be able to participate in the blog tour and giveaway for his second book.  Thank you Walden Pond Press for organizing the tour and providing a signed hardcover of The Dyerville Tales for one lucky reader.

by M. P. Kozlowsky
Illustrations by Brian Thompson
Walden Pond Press (April 22, 2014)

Description of Dyerville Tales from the Publisher:
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline meets Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs in M. P. Kozlowsky’s The Dyerville Tales, a powerfully imaginative middle-grade novel that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the author of Juniper Berry.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

Its unique voice and ability to combine creepiness with great story and character development make The Dyerville Tales a real standout middle-grade novel.

My thoughts on the book:
In the above description, The Dyerville Tales are compared to Coraline meets Breadcrumbs. However, it feels more like a modern twist on Grimm.  Two Vincents, the grandfather Vincent whose stories are told as tales, and the young Vincent who sets out to his grandfather's funeral and a journey to hopefully see his father again, find themselves on nearly parallel adventures to find hope and family. They are each pursued by a different nemesis and each must find their own way with the help of unlikely friends.

Kozlowsky spins together this complex tale filled very real characters whose lives are intertwined through curses and magic, and an old crone, a giant, a gnome, a talking horse and more.  The language in the story is beautiful and rich and provides a just right tone for this style of storytelling.

As you go on this journey with Vince and Vincent, you grow fond of the two heroes. You want to see them succeed and find yourself turning pages just to see what will happen next and will they find what they are searching for. However, I will caution that because of how the two tales are intertwined it does become a bit complex at times and a bit confusing.  There were a few spaces where I needed to re-read a passage to make sure that I did not over look an important detail that I would need later in the story.  When I arrived at the ending, I was a bit surprised and could not help speculating about whether another book would follow.

Students who enjoy scary tales will find a new favorite in this novel.  I suspect that they will also appreciate a number of the scenes in this book as well as the way Kozlowsky spins his tale.   
Illustration by Brian Thompson

Look for The Dyerville Tales by M. P. Kozlowsky at your local library or indie bookstore.

More about the author: M. P. Kozlowsky is also the author of Juniper Berry. A former schoolteacher, he lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. Visit him online at mpkozlowsky.com

Don't forget to check out all of the stops on the blog tour:

4/29 - KidLit Frenzy
4/30 - Mundie Moms
5/3 - The Book Rat
5/5 - Mundie Moms
5/7 - Small Review
5/8 - Novel Novice
5/14 - The Hiding Spot

Thanks to Walden Pond Press, one lucky reader (with a US mailing address) has the chance to win a signed hardcover copy of The Dyerville Tale.   Please complete the Rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway: 

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