“Yesterday’s fairy tale is today’s fact. The magician is only one step ahead of his audience.” ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Waking up beside last night’s one night stand, Brain Cooper is confronted with an ugly foot. Turns out the guy attached to it is just as ugly, not in looks, but in his brash and oppressive beliefs that have Sigmund Roid offering to “help” Brain with some therapy and some pills to dull the part of him that still believes that magic is real. Quickly dispatching of his mistake, Brian’s RV is blessed with the presence of an eight foot talking bull in a three piece suit, Stanley. Not believing his eyes, Brian is notified that as a child he declared his allegiance to the people of Fable, the land of magic, and that now Mother Goose and the Fable folk require him to set out on a quest to find the missing fairytale characters who have crossed over and forgotten themselves in the transition.
Armed with a magic egg and a living lizard-skin bag of tricks, Brian and Stanley set out to set the balance back between the worlds with a ragtag band of accomplices and a veritable cornucopia of make-believe friends and foes that need corking back in Mother Goose’s preserve jars and taken home before both worlds end up a casualty of their own undoing. Brian soon learns that with his makeshift family and the will to change the world for the better, anything is possible when the path you choose is a true one.
Hayden Chance, a Chicago native, is a veteran of the written word. An author and former college professor, this is Chance’s third novel released on Dorje, Inc. and in his true style, is filled to the brim with magic prose to awe and inspire. I was unfamiliar with this author until a week ago, and now for me, there is no going back. Turns out the thing I was missing in the genre was a bit of magic, and Chance delivers that, gift wrapped in the form of this wonderful adult fairy tale.
My nostalgia for childhood fables was completely sated when I cracked open this book, all my memories cascading in front of me as I flicked through page after page of some of the most creative and original writing I have seen in a while. His protagonist, Brian Cooper, was a real treasure, a slightly jaded man living his life day to day in his recreation vehicle home until one day, magic comes knocking at his door. Brian’s cynicism was actually what attracted me most, his underwhelming view of what the world had become something everyone can understand simply by flicking on the news or reading the daily stories. Brain and Stanley make an exceptional duo to fight back the dangers imposed on the world, but en route to their task, Brian becomes more and more aware of his surroundings, of the way the world has become, and more determined to fix the damage that has been done.
The “gay” part of this story comes in the form of Anthony “The Snake” Marconi, a retired mob leader who can see the magic of the world himself. While most people can’t see Stanley’s true form, Tony sees him straight off the starting block and doesn’t bat an eyelid. As the two men get to know each other, a truly romantic love story unfolds, offset by the romantic themes that punctuate the book in the form of the authors idealism and unique world views. But let me warn you, the romance in this prose will not be what you are used to. Everything gets turned up on its head, and Tony’s ultimate act of love for Brian actually involves homicide. But then, who wouldn’t kill for love, right?
The fictional characters resurrected in this book are breathtaking new accounts of classic children’s fairytales; the Pied Piper, the tailors from the Emperor’s New Clothes, Georgie Porgie and a trio of evil nemeses in the form of The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker. I’ve never been as in awe reading a fresh take on the stories that I heard growing up. But this, my friends, is not solely a refreshing romp through the annals of bedtime stories past. This is also a political statement. It speaks of lost potential, of oppression at the hands of a greater power, of all we can do to better ourselves and contribute the most we can to the world around us. This story has the greatest moral of all: To be all we can be, all the time. To stand up for what counts the most and to unite against forces that would bring about destruction. And it comes complete with a happy ending, just like we all love.
Hayden Chance is an author to look out for. He is a humble man with something to say, and I think we should all be listening to his unique views and his enthralling and inviting writing style that had me gripped from the get go. As a talented author, Hayden Chance has crafted a mind-blowing and thoughtful book filled with positive aspirations and an endearing moral that would reach even the stoniest of hearts, and he did it all off his own back.
This is a story that I highly recommend with a well-earned 4.5 stars. I’ll be reading more by this author and will be back with another review in the future. And we’ll all live, happily ever after.