From the best-selling author of The Chronicles of St Mary's. The Nothing Girl has grown up....
It's life as usual at Frogmorton Farm - which is to say that events have passed the merely eccentric and are now galloping headlong towards the completely bizarre.
Once again Jenny struggles to stay afloat in the stormy seas of matrimony with her husband, Russell Checkland, together with an unlikely mix of Patagonian Attack Chickens, Jack the Sad Donkey and Mrs Crisp's mysterious boyfriend. The old favourites are still around, of course. There's Marilyn the Omnivorous Donkey, Russell's ex-girlfriend Don't Call Me Franny and the neurotic Boxer, currently failing to deal with butterfly trauma.
So nothing much is new...except for the mysterious figure dogging Jenny's steps and who, if she didn't know better, she would swear was her sinister cousin Christopher, last seen being hurled from the house by her wayward husband. He couldn't possibly be stupid enough to come back and try again.... Could he?
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NOT as good as the first one Really quite terrible
Oh, where to start! The first book in this series, the Nothing Girl, is just beautiful. A magical story full of wonderful characters. This second book in the series is almost crap. I can't even believe Jodi Taylor wrote this herself. And I will never believe she edited it in any way. I'm not sure if it would be such a wrenching betrayal if book numberr one hadn't been so great, but it was, so...
Only the laziest of authors relies on the trope of having your main character not want to tell information, maybe it's not important, maybe the first time I was imagining it, well I guess I'll tell someone, but later, well not quite yet, how about tomorrow I promise, blah, blah, blah. It's only Massively Important, and there is absolutely no reason Whatsoever that it shouldn't be told, but then you couldn't drag one simple thing out for almost an entire book.
Even the Big Thing that happens in the book, never could have happened if a person used any common sense whatsoever, as in, not putting themselves in harms way, when they know someone wants to harm them.
A scene at the end is supposed to be Thomas' big magical moment of good hearted wonderfullness or whatever, yet the wonderfullness was telegraphed in full Many chapters earlier, could have and should have just been resolved right then, and not used as a suppossed beautiful moment that was Not Earned
The continuity errors and lack of editing are horrifying. It's so difficult to review a book without spoilers, so I know this review is scorching without really saying why, but I'm trying not to give specifics. But some examples are, in one chapter, we are told a past incident was told to the police, and a certain person may even be on a small town most wanted list. In another chapter said incident is referred to as something that was hushed up / not reported. In one scene Thomas says "I think they're trying to x y z", then something occurs, then Jenny says "What's happening? Do you think they're trying to x y z?" In another scene Jenny tells us how she and Daniel love it when Russell and Francesca argue, then about two seconds later, Jenny tells us that she and Daniel love it when Russell and Francesca argue. Wtf? I don't take hallucinogens then listen to books, but maybe Jodi Taylor does. At this point anything is possible.
But the worst part is that the beautiful world full of real people and magical animals, all with a tiny bit of quirk but lots of heart, was turned into a slapstick type nothing, played for laughs, with all the feeling sucked right out of it. The Frogmorton Farm characters were a bit not even eccentric but maybe unconventional. Now they form into huge groups of nonsensical type people acting in ways people would never act, there are situations that have no lead in, and Thomas, magical, unique, beautiful Thomas is also played for laughs, and actually kind of annoying, almost a hindrance, and it all comes from this bizarre need to make everyone and everything in the book a farce. She ruined Thomas!
I've never had such an experience where an author created such a lovely place, then totally ruined it in the next book. I'm flabbergasted, and also angry. Like I literally want her to take this book out of print, rewrite it completely, then publish it again. Cannot believe this came out of such an accomplished author.
Ps - poor Tanya only gets two speaking lines, and the narrator flubs them both. The first is read in Russel's voice, and the second is read in a sort of 90% British, 10% German accent, that is nothing like Tanya.
Really just a shoddy enterprise from first draft to recording. I wish we knew why Jodi Taylor seemingly hates us so much to have created such a travesty.
it finished too soon.
- Hilary hurwitz