Papercutz. May 2020. 176p. ISBN 9781545804124. $19.99. Rated: Teen+. mythology
Eve dwells in an idyllic town near an enchanted forest where deadly vines hunger. Past that ravenous wood stands a forlorn castle, rumored to be the home of the hideously hirsute Bluebeard, though no one has ever seen him to confirm his existence. After catastrophic rains take their toll on the little hamlet and belts tighten from the hunger, every villager receives an unexpected invitation to go to the castle and enjoy the hospitality of Bluebeard himself. Accepting the offer, Eve’s family partakes in his largess, with circumstances unfolding with her unexpected arranged marriage to the polite and dapper yet distant man. Leaving on a trip, Eve is given strict instructions to do as she pleased as long as one room remained forever locked, though she would have the temptation of a key. Doors are made to be opened, and what Eve discovers in that room hidden by her wicked husband puts her life in danger, even as unbeknownst to her the many local women, including her sister, are being drawn to the castle under a terrible spell.
VERDICT Metaphrog (creative duo John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs; “Louis” series) offers a pastel-hewn modern take on the venerable tale that is delightfully offbeat and thrilling, with an actively heroic lead and unexpected magical menaces. [Previewed in Douglas Rednour’s “Picture This,” LJ 4/20.]

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