Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Review: The Lost Journals of Benjamin Tooth by Mackenzie Crook
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: November 7th, 2013
My name is Benjamin Tooth. This is my journal. One day I will be remembered as the greatest scientist that the world has ever known and so it is my duty to mankind to record my thoughts that future generations are able to study the progress of a genius. I am eleven years old. These are the recently discovered journals of Benjamin Tooth: alchemist, inventor and discoverer of the Windvale sprites. They chronicle his journey of scientific discovery from pompous boy to mad old man in his pursuit of the sprites on Windvale Moor. The sprites hold the key to eternal life, and Tooth is determined to capture it.
The Lost Journals of Benjamin Tooth is a great book written by actor Mackenzie Crook, best known to me for his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. As always with books written by celebrities, I was dubious to read it, but in a big fan of the faerie family so decided to give it a whirl. I laughed out loud numerous times and found myself thoroughly engrossed in Benjamin Tooth's story, eager to see what happened next and how the Windvale Sprites came to be known.
Benjamin's diary takes place between 1768 and 1780 and chronicles his desire to be a well known scientist. Along the way he meets a selection of bizarre people, including taxidermist Mr Gadigun and mysterious Farley Cupstart who, it soon becomes apparent, knows more about the inhabitants of Windvale than he's letting on. What follows is a long scientific investigation into the creatures that become known as the Windvale Sprites, which ultimately less to a slightly better understanding of them. I think there's a lot more to learn about them, and I'm hoping the first book in the series, The Windvale Sprites, supplies more information.
I hadn't read the first book before reading this prequel, but I think I benefitted from going into this one knowing nothing. I was impressed with Crook's writing and illustrations (LOVE the depiction of the sprites!) and the fast pace applied to keep the story moving and interesting. The Lost Journals of Benjamin Tooth has a lot going for it: it's funny with a dry wit, exciting and has a magical quality to it. The characters are all immediately likeable, though I did think Benjamin made some questionable decisions later in the book! I'll say no more, though, in the hopes that people will read it for themselves. I'm now off to start The Windvale Sprites!