Sunday, 15 March 2015

Hilda And The Midnight Giant

Hilda And The Midnight Giant

Luke Pearson





Hilda and her mother live way out in the valley, peacefully far from town, but now they're facing forcible eviction in the form of teeny tiny threatening letters from the people of the Northern Elven Valley Counties.  Will Hilda have to move and go to a ‘proper’ school in town or will she be able to befriend these minuscule neighbours and change their minds before it’s too late?  And just who is this mysterious midnight giant?


Firstly, any book that begins with a ‘This book belongs to’ with a space to write our name is bound to be good.  The endpapers are beautifully sketchy and we must also applaud Flying Eye Books’ innovative doubling of the dust jacket as a fold-out poster version of ‘The Giants of Old.’  The overall presentation of this book is quite simply flawless, something we have come to associate heavily with Flying Eye, but style never wins out over substance and sequels have been known to be tricky.  Thankfully Luke Pearson has taken this daunting task in his stride and created a book that, in our opinion, exceeds the first.  As much as we loved Hilda And The Troll our only complaint was that it was too short; we wanted to linger a little longer in this new and wondrous world and with the addition of Hilda And The Midnight Giant and the other sequels which followed, we are able to.  


Compared to the first book Hilda And The Midnight Giant feels epic even though it is only a mere eight pages longer, but what a difference they make. The whole book feels more accomplished, not to say that the first wasn’t but Pearson has really upped his game.  There’s a wonderful sweeping sense of romance that revolves around the tale of the midnight giant; a grandeur.  The image of a giant sat atop a mountain guarding his surroundings for a millennia is tremendously reassuring, as is the realisation that perhaps you’re not the biggest thing in the universe.  It’s a very grounding message and one that’s important to remember as we can all lose perspective from time to time.   The muted darkness of the midnight colour palette is stunning and Pearson’s character design is a real mixture of adorable and fantastical.  We particularly love the quiet beauty of the migrating woffs.  Pearson cleverly grounds his mystical world with everyday bureaucracy and mindless trivialities like paperwork, and there’s a coherent, familiar hierarchy that the solution to Hilda’s predicament must follow from Mayor to Prime Minister to King.  There is a marvellous mix of visual jokes and word based humour which enriches the story, and our absolute favourite aspect is how Hilda’s troubles with the Elven Valley Counties are mirrored in the plight of the midnight giant.  It is a slow and quiet reveal, and one of the book’s real joys.  


Hilda remains as heroic, headstrong and funny as ever, and we urge any fans of Hilda And TheTroll to add to your collection now.  One of the advantages of these books is that you don't have to read them order.  Though there is a certain satisfaction that comes with seeing familiar faces reoccur, we also relish the opportunity to dive in at any point and swim in any direction we choose.  If what you’re looking for is great storytelling, humour, adventure and imagination then what are you waiting for?  Come on in, the water’s fine. 

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