Publishing Information: October 1, 2005 by Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Horror
Series information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 156 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Recommended For: Readers wanting a beautifully illustrated novel that reads like a children’s picture book yet brings adult terrors to life.
World-renowned dark fantasy artist Brom in this illustrated novel intimately combines his dramatic storytelling with his uniquely arresting images, to create a work of striking imagination, a world where fairy-tale tradition collides with vileness and depravity, love and heroism, suffering and sacrifice. A shadowy land of make-believe where Jack and his box are stuck beneath the bed with the dust, spiders, and other castaway toys, forced to face a bitter truth: children grow up and toys are left behind. Jack believes this is the worst that can happen to a toy. But when the Plucker, a malevolent spirit, is set loose upon the world of make-believe and Jack is thrust into the unlikely role of defending Thomas, the very child who abandoned him, he finds out there is worse that can befall a toy-far worse. As desperation mounts, Jack is thrown together with Thomas’s other toys-Monkey, the Nutcracker, and the ethereally beautiful porcelain doll Snow Angel-as they struggle to rise above their simple roles as playthings in an effort to save the boy they love.
Plucker is an illustrated novel by Brom and it is a dark, twisted tale about children’s toys and their love for children. Don’t think of this as another Toy Story, it is absolutely NOT a children’s book.
This is the story of Jack (as in, Jack in the Box) who lives in a room with dozens of other toys who belong to Thomas. These toys come alive once Thomas is in bed and gallivant through his room, living it up as toys do. The only problem is that Jack has been shoved under the bed and is now a discarded toy that is to be shunned from all the others. Soon after Jack is shunned, Thomas is brought a spirit doll from his father. They place the doll above his bed and it falls, cracks open and releases a Soul Plucker who needs to feed on children’s gusto to flourish and survive. Jack becomes transformed into a Plucker killer and he sets out against the evil taking over the child’s soul.
I was very excited to read this book. I loved Brom’s The Child Thief and I think his illustrations are absolutely amazing. However this story was very different from The Child Thief, it read more like a picture book than a novel but the illustrations completely complemented the storyline.
Jack was transformed from a child’s toy who cowered in his box for comfort to a killer with a snake’s heart. African magic and voodoo play a significant part in the story and it helped create more depth, giving the story a little more than a straightforward path.
Some of the Plucker’s “minions” were gruesome and maggot filled and I found myself physically gagging over the intense descriptions. But that’s part of the reason that I enjoyed it, I love a good horror story filled with vivid imagery. Jack’s illustrations were also incredibly intricate, even his stitching was beautiful. I recommend this book to any fans of Brom or for those who like a twisted re-telling of a childhood fable.
The monkey chased the weasel,
The monkey thought ‘twas all in fun,
Pop goes the weasel.”