Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: Teddy Bears and Tea Parties (Some Spoilers)

Title: Teddy Bears and Tea Parties
Series: Standalone Story, so far…
Author(s): S. Boyd Taylor
Illustrator: Jorge Rodas
Publisher: Publisher House if available
Publication Date: August 12, 2011
Reviewed Format: Kindle Edition
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5) (sorry, this code does not allow for half stars)

If you would prefer to read the review Spoiler Free, please follow this link.

Ever wonder how things would have been if your favorite childhood toys all of a sudden came to life? Wouldn’t that had been the best time of your life, to finally have the toys interact back? What if they did but they weren't as innocent and good as you thought them? What if, instead of playing, they’ll try to eat you alive? That is the premise of Teddy Bears and Tea Parties, a world where children most adapt or die and adults seem to be nowhere to be found.

I’m not even sure how to begin reviewing this one. Teddy Bears and Tea Parties is a short (about 13 pages long) that tells the story of young child, known throughout as “Little Girl”, who’s killing bears (yes, your read correctly, bears) left and right in order to find her kidnapped sister. The short opens with “Little Girl” wiping a blood stain from the kitchen window; afterwards she proceeds with her mission searching for her sister, Angie, who was taken by Him, also known as Himn; the evil character and main antagonist in the story.

In Little Girl’s world magic has, somehow, come back and has given life to EVERYTHING, from the toys to even the houses; and everything is hungry and must be fed. There is a line in the book that pretty much summarizes its concept: “The world is alive since the magic came back, and children are small and make a good snack. And everything tricks and everything cheats and everything, everything, everything eats.” Much like this one there are a few other phrases that give a sense of creepiness and uneasiness, which I assume is what the author was going after.

The story is classified as horror, dystopian, gore, apocalyptic, and surrealistic. On first glance it seems that the story is in its entirety surrealistic and nothing else, but when the imagery starts to sink in, you can begin to distinguish the horror, the gore, the dystopian and the apocalyptic aspects within the piece. For example, there is a part where the Little Girl gets eaten by Himn; she finds herself in his stomach with a throbbing hand (a hand that she skinned herself). Is inside Him that she finds her sister, who is slowly turning into a doll and who’s eye where replaced with beaded opals and her own diamond blue eyes are now a part of Himn’s stomach wall (which Little Girl slashes in order to get them back).

I actually like the story, mostly because - in a sense, it reminds me a lot to the concept of Alice in Wonderland; primarily the recent twisted versions of the old tale. As I read it, i kept thinking about the videogame Alice: Madness Returns, a sequel to American McGee’s Alice, an action/adventure game set in an altered reality to that of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where we see Alice Liddell with a broken mind as she struggles to relinquish her memories while lapsing back and forth between a depressing Reality and a corrupted Wonderland that only she can save from some unknown danger.

There isn't much in Teddy Bears and Tea Parties to say that it’s a criticisms of anything in particular yet (it’s too short); but it’s written in such a way that it keeps turning in my head even though I was done with it in a matter of minutes. I’m hoping that the author publishes a sequel or at least another book set in the same universe to try to get a better sense of world itself.

Overall, if you have played either of the Alice's games by American McGee or enjoyed any or many of the reimagining’s of Carroll’s tale you’ll enjoy this one. If you get disturbed by the idea of a child cleaving with a knife anything that gets in her way you might want to steer clear of this one. As simple as this, I know that my sister will love it and that my mother will hate it; I’m the closest one to the middle ground so I’m giving it a 3.5, I liked it, I didn’t love it, I actually wanted more material to read; but I’m crossing my fingers, it might still come.

Now it’s your time to tell me, will you read a story about a knife wilding, teddy bear killing child or will you pass on this one? Sound your opinion on the comments section bellow.

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