“Me-O-My Monday is missing and Thursday has come again.”
This is the theme that runs throughout Thursday Thistle, an adult-oriented fairytale by August V. Fahren. It’s a little gem of story, although it’s a gem with some significant flaws.
Thursday Thistle is the title character, a teenage girl who lives with her clueless father and abusive stepsisters (her stepmother had run off). She’s a nice girl who puts up with a lot, and passes much of her time practicing her drawings, although all she ever draws is anatomically-correct robot mermaids. After meeting a two-headed talking mouse, she travels to the world of Lethe, a place which has largely been forgotten or ignored, but from which all of our fairytales have sprung. However, Thursday soon discovers that, while modern tellings tend to water-down the original fairytales, the original fairytales are themselves watered-down from reality (for example, Snow White is actually Princess Wednesday, a nymphomaniac sex slave to the seven diminutives).
Her quest is to find and free Princess Monday, who she has been told was kidnapped by the cannibal queen. Thursday’s journey immediately brings to mind Alice in Wonderland, meeting crazy people and situations that don’t necessarily make sense, and I seriously doubt that my interpretation is unique. It was definitely an interesting and compelling story. There are some major flaws with the book, however.
The first and most obvious is that Thursday Thistle desperately needs more editing. There are a fair number of errors in the book, including punctuation, misspelled words, missing words, and grammatical problems. This is a purely technical problem that could easily be fixed, and as such I wish it had been. With the number of technical errors throughout the book, it breaks the reading flow and yanks a reader off the page very easily.
Second, the plot felt very uneven, and it felt like there were chunks of the book that had been edited down or taken out altogether. Ultimately, the plot holds together, but I’m pretty sure I could see the stitching involved to do so. Unfortunately, this makes the plot and character movement feel very herky jerky, like sitcoms where someone is learning to drive for the first time and the car goes quickly forward a few feet before screeching to a stop, then repeating over and over again.
Despite this, Thursday Thistle is also strangely compelling. As I read, I was genuinely curious as to where the author was going to go with it, especially the hints peppered throughout the book of an incredibly rich backstory, as though the author had written his own Silmarillion-style reference guide to the history of Lethe. And I can tell you that sticking with it does pay off with a well written ending. At the same time, I wanted to know more, and it felt like there was supposed to be more, but that it got cut out or left out for whatever reason. Hopefully the author has a sequel on the horizon, because there are still some significant questions left unanswered.
The book can be rewarding but can also get frustrating at the same time because of the above mentioned flaws. It’s short, and definitely worth your time, but if you’re a stickler for technical detail, your frustration level will likely be heightened. It would earn four stars, but the technical problems are significant enough in my opinion that I have to detract a half-star.
Thursday Thistle by August V. Fahren earns 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Note: A free copy of this book was sent to this reviewer by the author for review purposes. This did not affect this review in any way.