Friday, July 16, 2010

The Dream Thief by Catherine Webb


Readers of this blog are aware of my total passion for any and all things written by young British prodigy, Catherine Webb. I adore Catherine Webb's unique style and am so lucky to have invested in her career early on. Watching a young author develop from a young author into a literary force is a great privilege for a keen reader. Readers of this blog will be familiar with my rambling rants ACHING for a new Lyle book, will have read the interviews with Catherine Webb I have stumbled upon over the years and will have heard me squeal over and over again just how much she has revolutionized the reading experience for me. Whenever I lose my faith in literature ( for young adults or otherwise ), I remember that there are writers like her who are willing to take a risk, write passionately and gleefully and completely about what they love.

The Horatio Lyle books are about so much more than just character and plot: it’s the evolution of her writing, I appreciate, her London, the way her phrases string together, the outrageous similes, the poetry, the incessant italics, the dialogue, the stirring emotional resonance, the clips and snippets of 19th Century prose wedded with modern fantasy’s sensibility, the delicious interruptions by the narrative voice, the literal twinkle in her eye when she races to describe a scene. The fact that , while reading, you sense you are having as much fun as Webb did writing. A preternatural author-reader kinship.

The books have sparkle. They are dynamite. They are the apotheosis of clever writing within the umbrella of story arc.


The Dream Thief by Catherine Webb
is the fourth offering in this incredulously inventive, wonderful, gripping, unique and imaginative series and it may, just may, have secured Webb an upgrade in the Rachel-Hierarchy-of-Author-Appreciation from favourite YA novelist to favourite contemporary novelist-- regardless of genre. Strong words indeed.

...For no other writer on the planet elicits such a euphoric, magical and sometimes physical response from me.


I ABSOLUTELY QUAKE in anticipation for these books. Unfortunately, their release dates are more often than not more than sketchy and oft-postponed. My copy was secured from amazon.co.uk due to the fact that this Lyle won’t see Canada until the Fall. Iwas in Austria on holiday when the order dispatched and I remember looking up from the public internet terminal at my hotel in Vienna and beaming at the nearest person ( whose bewildered stare could not PHASE my excitement).


My best friend Jess ( who you may remember from previous entries ) also secured a copy of The Dream Thief from the UK asked me to help her describe what makes the Horatio Lyle series so fabulous for her blog.


I summed up the way they make me feel. The EXPERIENCE of reading a Catherine Webb book supersedes mundane details like plot or review. What does the book DO to you?

For real readers, books are far more than pages between hardbound covers. REAL readers feel their senses employed.

Wrote I:


“After reading Horatio Lyle, I don’t want to read anything else for weeks. Everything tastes flat after her prose. It is really hard to pull myself from that world, so I end up starting her book at the beginning again.

Very few authors have that power over me. There is a snap there. A spark. Her books have a taste to them. I can taste and smell and see them and they whiz by in colour.

Her dialogue sticks with me forever after, and my heart literally swells. These books make me tingle! Some books are fun and amusing but don’t really elicit a physical reaction. Horatio Lyle makes me jump and giggle and clap and sigh and catch my breath and read and re-read and re-read sentences over and over again.

I want to hang on every one of her words. I forget to eat. I like to stay up late and revisit, step into her world and just revel in the corners of my imagination reserved for her fabulous workings. I like to click along with her wordy paragraphs and fall into her spell.

She often talks directly to the reader: she’ll invite you on the journey and whisper to you, with a little twinkle in her author’s eye to follow her and you see her alleyways and her London and meet her characters and smell the magnesium and drift into Lyle’s crazy laboratory and dance over stones with Lin.

These books do things to me.

I think it’s the closest I have ever been to being love-sick.”



Catherine Webb also writes adult urban fantasy under the pseudonym Kate Griffin. Visit Kate Griffin's stupendously well-written blog: here. It is one of my missions in life to ensure that all passionate readers of historical YA fiction... or just brilliant fiction.... find themselves as besotted with Lyle as I have been for four glorious years. If urban fantasy is more your cup of Earl Grey, Matthew Swift is going to tickle your fancy.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

My name is Jess, and I approve this message.