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March 28, 2020

The Slug Queen Chronicles by S. O. Thomas ~ a Review

by MK French

Cricket Kane discovers that tooth fairies are now kidnapping entire children, not just collecting teeth. Her brother is taken, leaving behind a changeling and a toxic black dust that affects her family. She’s immune to it and follows a mysterious cat to the land where magical creatures are real. Cricket has to harness the power of that dust to rescue her brother and the other missing children, but it might cost her life.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

March 2020;  Ichigo Black Books; 978-1951406066
ebook, print (328 pages); fantasy
We start with Cricket’s twelfth birthday, with her love of sameness and sensitivities to different senses. There’s even an element of synesthesia, as she could see different colored dust for each of her overwhelmed senses. It’s treated as her normal, not a weird affectation, and her best friend also helps her to understand the social nuances that she doesn’t intrinsically get. This social awkwardness is present in school as well when we see it, which gets her bullied by the popular girls. It’s never explicitly explained that Cricket has autism, but she is clearly neurodivergent. It’s not a feature about her that magically changes as it progresses.

The behavior the Cricket sees as changing overnight has affected her as well. It’s not that she is angry or yelling a lot, but hallucinating a talking cat that no one else can see that she’s allergic to is a difference as well. It’s the cat that suggests her baby brother is a changeling and suggests the journey she ultimately takes. It’s not exactly a nod to the Cheshire cat, but it certainly feels that way as I read the book. There is a lot of detail about the fairy world and the conflicts that exist there, especially because Cricket has to learn about it as she journeys through there as well as learn how to cope with the dangers present and her own sensory overload. This is a much larger and more detailed section of the book, with so many new characters introduced.

Cricket needs to understand herself as well as her relationships with other people. It’s too easy for her initially to care about her own needs and her own sensitivities. That’s normal in young children, and even at twelve, she’s only on the cusp of tweener/teen angst. She has to be challenged in order to grow and change and to really appreciate what’s important to her. This is exactly the kind of thing that middle-grade readers are trying to navigate on their own, so seeing Cricket navigate them in aeryland might be a safer way for them to realize there are viable ways to do so.

Buy The Slug Queen Chronicles at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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