Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman

Book: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★

For: Review, Supporting local authors
From: Received for free from the author, all opinions are my own.
(To be re-released later this summer)

Short Synopsis: This is the story behind the Lewis Carroll poem. Well, according to this particular author's imagination anyway! We have our hero, Tjaden, who wants to become a member of the Elite guard. Because of his prowess fighting off a bandersnatch and later his near-win in the sparring ring, he is chosen to join up. His dreams have come true. Now, if only he could be brave enough to talk to Alora, give her the ring he bought and make her understand his feelings for her. But now he might not have a chance because of that dang Jabberwock!

My Response: Guys... I loved this story! I'm not really that familiar with the poem, but of course I know of it. When you read it, it seems like total gibberish, a bunch of nonsense words and a story line that a normal person can't follow at all. (See poem below, along with an awesome reciting!) Well, no more. This fun and lovely story will lay to rest any issues you've ever had with that crazy Jabberwocky poem! All the words are explained and the story follows the poem in a fun, romantic, swashbuckling way, including a sort of twist at the end that is awesome. The characters are a blast. We have a shy and humble hero, a damsel in distress that isn't at all the weak sort of damsel one might expect, a quirky funny sidekick that tends to steal the scenes and the annoying "I'm the coolest" nemesis. Ah, but he causes some grief for our poor hero! And then there's the Jabberwock himself... and that's all I'm going to say about that!

Bottom line: I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, but I ended up pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was and how much I loved it. It will turn out to be highlight of my summer reading I'm sure. Now, I must get my hands on Hatter, which I understand is a companion book and tells even more of the story.

Let's Talk About: This whole idea of taking a poem that's quite hard to understand and then turning it into an awesome story... I love it! What do you think? What other poems can we suggest to our favorite authors to "fix" for us? The Highwayman would make a great story, I'd say. How about you?

Other Reviews:

My favorite thing about JABBERWOCKY was the fact that Coleman took a poem full of nonsense and turned it into something real. From A Backwards Story

Daniel relates the gripping tale of a quiet hero, Tjaden, who, motivated only by resolving the problems posed to his family and friends, accomplishes the impossible. From Tristi Pinkston

If you are looking for an exciting, high-fantasy story with adventure, nail-biting suspense and romance, JABBERWOCKY is for you! I love this little gem of a book. From That's Swell

No, I’m not expecting a Jabberwocky to come flying overhead or to be threatened by a Bandersnatch, but in the world that was created, I believed that these things could happen. From The Paisley Reader

Just for fun, here's the poem:


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871).


  1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is one I read for class and which I think could use some fixing! I love retellings and I think this is a wonderful, unique approach to that idea, so I'm excited to hear that you liked how the author did it :)

    1. DD: I don't know that poem and now I'm curious!

  2. I love the Jabberwocky poem. I like Lewis Carroll a lot. I might have to read this, but does the author take too many liberties?

    1. Kami: I would say no... not too many. He does an awesome job.

  3. I love the Jabberwocky poem. It was one of the only things I liked about the Alice books. I just love the nonsense words, but yes, it's hard to understand. So, I think I'd like this.

    As far as your question, I'd say epic poems like Beowulf, Paradise Lost, The Iliad and The Odyssey, etc.



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