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A stunning modern-day Dickensian fable and a celebration of friendship and bravery for freethinkers everywhere. It all starts on the morning the letter D disappears from language. First, it vanishes from Dhikilo’s parents’ conversation at breakfast, then from the road signs outside and from her school dinners. Soon the local dentist and the neighbor’s dalmatian are missing, A stunning modern-day Dickensian fable and a celebration of friendship and bravery for freethinkers everywhere. It all starts on the morning the letter D disappears from language. First, it vanishes from Dhikilo’s parents’ conversation at breakfast, then from the road signs outside and from her school dinners. Soon the local dentist and the neighbor’s dalmatian are missing, and even the Donkey Derby has been called off. Though she doesn’t know why, Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her old history teacher Professor Dodderfield and his faithful Labrador, Nelly Robinson. And this is where our story begins. Set between England and the wintry land of Liminus, a world enslaved by the monstrous Gamp and populated by fearsome, enchanting creatures, D (A Tale of Two Worlds) is told with simple beauty and warmth. Its celebration of moral courage and freethinking is a powerful reminder of our human capacity for strength, hope and justice.


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A stunning modern-day Dickensian fable and a celebration of friendship and bravery for freethinkers everywhere. It all starts on the morning the letter D disappears from language. First, it vanishes from Dhikilo’s parents’ conversation at breakfast, then from the road signs outside and from her school dinners. Soon the local dentist and the neighbor’s dalmatian are missing, A stunning modern-day Dickensian fable and a celebration of friendship and bravery for freethinkers everywhere. It all starts on the morning the letter D disappears from language. First, it vanishes from Dhikilo’s parents’ conversation at breakfast, then from the road signs outside and from her school dinners. Soon the local dentist and the neighbor’s dalmatian are missing, and even the Donkey Derby has been called off. Though she doesn’t know why, Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her old history teacher Professor Dodderfield and his faithful Labrador, Nelly Robinson. And this is where our story begins. Set between England and the wintry land of Liminus, a world enslaved by the monstrous Gamp and populated by fearsome, enchanting creatures, D (A Tale of Two Worlds) is told with simple beauty and warmth. Its celebration of moral courage and freethinking is a powerful reminder of our human capacity for strength, hope and justice.

30 review for D: A Tale of Two Worlds

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    A young girl wakes up to a world where the letter “D” suddenly doesn’t exist! Her journey to find out why begins after attending the funeral of her former history professor and sends her on a quest into another world - a world ruled over by a mysterious dictator called the Gamp. I was surprised to see Michel Faber putting out another novel seeing as he claimed that his previous one, 2014’s The Book of Strange New Things, would be his last ever. But, in the afterword, he says that he started this A young girl wakes up to a world where the letter “D” suddenly doesn’t exist! Her journey to find out why begins after attending the funeral of her former history professor and sends her on a quest into another world - a world ruled over by a mysterious dictator called the Gamp. I was surprised to see Michel Faber putting out another novel seeing as he claimed that his previous one, 2014’s The Book of Strange New Things, would be his last ever. But, in the afterword, he says that he started this story 35 years ago so I guess he felt he couldn’t end his writing career without finally completing it (and publishing it, of course)? He also mentions his influences for the story: Dickens, Lewis’ Narnia books, James Thurber’s The Wonderful O, and the Wonderland novels. Having read D, I would say the book has more in common with Roald Dahl, Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth and Walter Moers’ The 13 and a Half Lives of Captain Bluebear - and I would also say that D unfortunately isn’t half as good as any of them! This is definitely a book for younger readers rather than Faber’s usual adult audience. The writing style, the child protagonist and the whimsical premise of the letter D disappearing put me in mind of Dahl’s The Witches, particularly the magical stuff that happened after the funeral. I liked most of the first act before Dhikilo, our main character, went into Liminus, the other world. Almost everything in Liminus though was insufferably bad! The one exception was the episode in the Bleak House, a haunted hotel that tries to drive Dhikilo and her travelling companion, Mrs Robinson the shape-shifting sphinx, insane. That was interesting. All the rest was awful. The story is just them meeting one group of annoying idiots after another with no consequences. Each group is defined by tediously irritating speech patterns. All don’t use the letter “D” but others talk as if they have mouths full of toffee so Dhikilo has to repeat back what they say and none of the dialogue is worthwhile. What makes it worse is how contrived everything is. Why the letter “D”? Just ‘cos. How does the Gamp in this world affect the “real” world (though Dhikilo’s English home town of Cawber-on-Sands isn’t real either)? No idea. Why are there so many Dickens references (Magwitches, Droods, Bleak House, Nelly/Little Nell) - what’s the relevance? No point - Faber’s just a Dickens fanboy, it seems. Why do so many people go along with this weird arbitrary rule of not using the letter “D” when no-one enforces it and there’s no consequences to using it anyway? No idea. Just because this is essentially a book for kids doesn’t mean you can cut corners with sloppy storytelling. The first act was decent, the Bleak House part was ok, but most of the novel is a dreary journey through the dullest, least imaginative “fantasy” landscape ever. I wouldn’t recommend D to either fantasy or Faber fans. It’s rare for a book to have its quality accurately stamped on the cover - I give D a D-grade! If you want to read something similar that’s actually good, Lewis Carroll’s Alice books are still the gold standard, closely followed by The Phantom Tollbooth and Walter Moers’ Zamonia novels.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    In this year of unspeakable loss, it feels uncouth to recommend the story of a loss that is literally unspeakable. But hear me out, because Michel Faber’s new novel is a strange delight — particularly if you have a child around to share it with. There has always been an element of innocence in Faber’s work, though it has often felt overwhelmed by horror and suffering. Now, though, he has made good on his vow to give up writing for adults and published “D (A Tale of Two Worlds),” which gives full In this year of unspeakable loss, it feels uncouth to recommend the story of a loss that is literally unspeakable. But hear me out, because Michel Faber’s new novel is a strange delight — particularly if you have a child around to share it with. There has always been an element of innocence in Faber’s work, though it has often felt overwhelmed by horror and suffering. Now, though, he has made good on his vow to give up writing for adults and published “D (A Tale of Two Worlds),” which gives full voice to his gentle wit and mischievous spirit. With its buoyant sense of wonder, “D” is a novel graciously indebted to the fantasies of C.S. Lewis, James Thurber and Norton Juster, along with the characters of Charles Dickens. The result is a rare book that mature readers will appreciate on one level while younger readers enjoy on another. Our heroine is Dhikilo, an observant 13-year-old girl living with her adopted family in an English town. There are other immigrants around, but she’s the only one from Somaliland. Dhikilo knows almost nothing of her war-torn birthplace, except that it’s an actual region and not, as so many kindly White people keep telling her, a mispronunciation of Somalia. She bears this and other racial microaggressions politely, but she’s determined to learn more about her origins, which is Faber’s subtle way of blending an ancient quest tale with co. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rhian Pritchard

    This was immensely weird and hugely enjoyable. I have no idea who we’re going to sell it to because I have no idea if it’s a kids book or an adult book, but that said, half my colleagues want to read it already based on the cover and my enthusiasm alone so perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much. This is the closest I’ve come, as an adult, to reading a book that feels like a fairytale I somehow missed as a child. Which, I suppose, is exactly what writers like C S Lewis managed to achieve. D is c This was immensely weird and hugely enjoyable. I have no idea who we’re going to sell it to because I have no idea if it’s a kids book or an adult book, but that said, half my colleagues want to read it already based on the cover and my enthusiasm alone so perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much. This is the closest I’ve come, as an adult, to reading a book that feels like a fairytale I somehow missed as a child. Which, I suppose, is exactly what writers like C S Lewis managed to achieve. D is comparable to the Narnia series and, as it states, Dickens, but it’s a sort of mash between the two. It reads as a sort of modern fable - despite a very predictable layout and recognisable elements, it draws on more recent ideas of what fantasy writing can be and uses as current events to shape its villain, and as a result of that and Michel Faber’s wild imagination, feels completely original. He’s one of those writers who will do a better job at a genre he’s never written before than most authors do in the genre they’ve spent half their life writing. The one thing that puts it more seriously in the ‘children’s fiction’ category for me was the ending. It tied up very neatly and with no bloodshed - and as an adult, that was vaguely unsatisfying.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    Dhikilo is a young orphan from Somaliland (not to be confused with Somalia, which everyone she meets does) growing up in a very English home in a very English town, Cawber-by-Sands, on the coast. Already something of an outsider with few real memories of her real parents, casualties of war, she is the only person unaffected by the sudden disappearance of the letter D. She is the only person who remembers that there is one, and the only person still using it. Something very strange is going on. W Dhikilo is a young orphan from Somaliland (not to be confused with Somalia, which everyone she meets does) growing up in a very English home in a very English town, Cawber-by-Sands, on the coast. Already something of an outsider with few real memories of her real parents, casualties of war, she is the only person unaffected by the sudden disappearance of the letter D. She is the only person who remembers that there is one, and the only person still using it. Something very strange is going on. When things that begin with the letter D start disappearing - dogs, the dentist - it feels more than strange, it feels ominous. But it's when she decides to go to the funeral for Professor Dodderfield, who used to teach history at her school, that her adventure really begins and 'strange' starts to be her new normal. What a delightful read this was! In the tradition of The Wizard of Oz, the Narnia chronicles, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (and any other portal-travelling, child-protagonist novel you've read I'm sure), and in time for the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens' death, Faber has crafted one of the most engaging, enjoyable, fun stories I've read in a long time. It helps that he's such an effortlessly good writer. The words and sentences just flow. There's no stumbling, there's no hesitation, there's no moment when your mind drifts. It's not a long book and the chapters are short, episodic, but each one rolls into the next and I just didn't want to put it down. Some readers may decry a lack of originality. There's plenty here that's original - Dhikilo's travelling companion is a sphinx called Mrs Robinson who can transform into a brown Labrador, for instance - and other details that feel familiar are given new twists so that they become fresh and new again. I've got nothing to whinge or quibble over. Sometimes, a book comes along that you enjoy so thoroughly you just aren't interested in looking for flaws. Because I'd have to really look to find any. Dhikilo is a great child protagonist in a long tradition of them. I lost track of exactly how old she is but I think twelve or thirteen. She loves to experiment in the kitchen - much to her English mum Ruth's dismay - and is curious and observant. There is something about young people that make them excellent portal-travellers and adventurers, which I remember talking about in my review of Lev Grossman's deplorable The Magicians - unbent by weary cynicism, perhaps, or crippled with the insecurities and responsibilities of adults, they perform their coming-of-age journeys with admirable integrity and perseverance. What D had that many other, similar stories tend to lack is humour. The novel carries that rich thread of tongue-in-cheek, slightly silly and definitely irreverent humour that the British are so well known for. (It's what captured me from the opening pages of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, transporting me back to my childhood love for Roald Dahl books.) When Dhikilo finally meets the Gamp, that dreadful despot dictator, he is rendered ridiculous. It is a nice counterbalance to the power he wields, and a good antidote to fear (remember the spell in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, for getting rid of a Boggart when it takes the shape of your greatest fear?). There is a hardback edition of this book which sadly wasn't available in our bookshops, but if you were going to splurge on one, this would be the book to get in hardback, especially with its gold-embossed cover and glittering dragonflies. If it wasn't clear by now: I highly recommend D, especially if you're in the mood for a rollicking good adventure. (But if you're in a nit-picky mood, definitely save this for later or you'll ruin the pleasure of reading it!) I read it as an adult novel (and it's been published as one in Australia, judging by the large format) mostly because I was expecting an adult novel, but it is definitely a child-friendly story, and I'd love to read it to my kids.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lilia

    I rather enjoyed this book, with it’s whimsical and adventurous nature. It borrows from a variety of children’s book tropes, a character finding themselves through adventure, a feeling of abandonment, a saving figure that propels the story onwards... and yet Faber twists them and makes them different, his own, so that you feel like you are reading something fresh and new. The authors voice throughout the book was a brilliant addition as well! At times it was difficult to read due to the loss of t I rather enjoyed this book, with it’s whimsical and adventurous nature. It borrows from a variety of children’s book tropes, a character finding themselves through adventure, a feeling of abandonment, a saving figure that propels the story onwards... and yet Faber twists them and makes them different, his own, so that you feel like you are reading something fresh and new. The authors voice throughout the book was a brilliant addition as well! At times it was difficult to read due to the loss of the letter ‘D’ but I guess that works to Faber’s purpose and really cements how terrible the world would be without them. There were wonderful phrases of Faber’s throughout the book that just resonates with me. Points of insightful observation that just makes the world around you that little bit clearer. All in all, excellent!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    A brilliant writer, a superb novelist for adults, and I pray he never writes another children's fantasy book again. A brilliant writer, a superb novelist for adults, and I pray he never writes another children's fantasy book again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] An interesting set-up, but I think I spent too much time trying to understand the logistics and reason for the loss of the letter D, and not enough time just enjoying the story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nabilah Firdaus

    “With twenty-six letters in the alphabet you’d think that losing one of them wouldn’t be so bad, but it was very bad indeed (or very ba inee, as everyone around her would put it).” D: A Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber has an interesting premise: A girl named Dhikilo wakes up in the morning to find the letter D is missing. It disappears from people’s conversations, then from newspapers and road signs and the situation becomes worse when things in letter D in them starts to vanish too (eg: dog, “With twenty-six letters in the alphabet you’d think that losing one of them wouldn’t be so bad, but it was very bad indeed (or very ba inee, as everyone around her would put it).” D: A Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber has an interesting premise: A girl named Dhikilo wakes up in the morning to find the letter D is missing. It disappears from people’s conversations, then from newspapers and road signs and the situation becomes worse when things in letter D in them starts to vanish too (eg: dog, red paint and local dentist)! Dhikilo soon begins the quest to find out the reasons behind all this madness in the wintery land of Liminus, a world inhabited by chained, bedraggled Magwitches; a group of dwarfishly short men called the Quilps; tall creatures with glossy-furred black hides and feline heads called the Drood; and they are all enslaved by the Great Gamp, a monstrous dictator and oppressor whom I strangely imagined as Donald Trump. However, despite the interesting premise and the inventive characters, I don’t really enjoy this book for one very simple reason: the book is just so…easy. It has a lot of potential but suffers from underdeveloped characters and driving force. Like for example: What is the significance of the letter D? How are the real world and Liminus connected? Lastly, why is Dhikilo the only one noticing the missing D - because she is a very plain character, to be honest. That said, this is not a bad book. It’s just not for me. Maybe if I read it as a child I would have enjoyed it more. Actual rating: 2.5/5 stars. Thank you Times Reads for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.<3

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    I really loved “The Book of Strange New Things”, which the author said would be his last book. I don’t know why he changed his mind and published this new book. I do know that it was not for me - it is for 8 year olds and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Abandoned.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Resh (The Book Satchel)

    Very exciting premise. One fine day the letter 'D' disappears from the world. And young girl, Dhikilo travels through portals to save the letter and bring it back. The story: Dhikilo notices that one day at breakfast, her parents are no longer pronouncing 'd'. Then the signboards have lost the letter 'd'. Soon things that start with 'd' disappear — dalmations, dogs, daffodils, dentist, etc. Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her old history teacher Professor Dodderfield and his faithful Labrador, Very exciting premise. One fine day the letter 'D' disappears from the world. And young girl, Dhikilo travels through portals to save the letter and bring it back. The story: Dhikilo notices that one day at breakfast, her parents are no longer pronouncing 'd'. Then the signboards have lost the letter 'd'. Soon things that start with 'd' disappear — dalmations, dogs, daffodils, dentist, etc. Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her old history teacher Professor Dodderfield and his faithful Labrador, Nelly Robinson —who might not be a simple dog after all — and the adventure begins. In the other world they see many 'd' (s) being carried away by dragonflies. They want to know who masterminded this theft with the minions/dragonflies and bring the letter back. Setting : England and the wintery land of Liminus. Liminus, like the Oz's world is a world enslaved by the monstrous Gamp and populated by fearsome, enchanting creatures Inspired by : Alice in wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Dickens (Bleak House, Great Expectations characters) What you'll love: - V imaginative. - I loved the team of Nelly Robinson and Dhikilo. They are perfect for the adventure - The Bleak House - a spooky hotel where you literally cannot exit. Dhikilo and Nelly Robinson sat here. Signs appear everywhere, rooms look similar, the wallpaper is alive. It is like a haunted maze. PS: even though it is a middle grade book, i think some references like Mr. Pumblechook and Bleak House might be lost on children. What bothered me : - I did expect more because of the fantastic premise. - I did not understand why 'Somaliland' was part of the plot. Dhikilo is said to be from Somaliland, not Somalia, and there are some dry descriptions about what Somaliland could 'look like' and then we see nothing more of it. Towards the end it crops up again, almost as if Faber thought 'Oh no, the book is ending, maybe I should mention Somaliland again'. It stuck put like a sore thumb, like a weak diversity point. Thanks for Translworld for an e-copy. All opinions my own

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    I enjoyed this! Nice easy read

  12. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    When I got this book I was quite sure that this was one of the prettiest and most beautiful books I had ever seen and since it seemed to be quite a fairytale I was quite excited to get started. However, since this is a Book Box Club book I had to wait patiently until it was time for our buddy read to get started. Since the author chat with the previous author was last week however, this week we could finally open the book and see if the story was as beautiful as its cover. And now I've finished t When I got this book I was quite sure that this was one of the prettiest and most beautiful books I had ever seen and since it seemed to be quite a fairytale I was quite excited to get started. However, since this is a Book Box Club book I had to wait patiently until it was time for our buddy read to get started. Since the author chat with the previous author was last week however, this week we could finally open the book and see if the story was as beautiful as its cover. And now I've finished this book I'm not entirely sure what to think of it. This story should have been my thing. I'm a huge lover of Alice in Wonderland. I love middle grades. I love fantasy worlds and weirdness. But somehow this story never really grabbed me. I was reading it, I was making progress and I wasn't hating it or disliking it, but I was not really looking forward to picking it back up and I wasn't really enjoying it either. I just can't really say why. Something was missing. Something that I had expected to be there. I think partly it might be magic. Although our heroine was in a lot of weird situations, none of them really seemed enchanting or magical. I actually think that only two things really were magical. Another thing that might not have helped, is that it somehow seems like our heroine is on an important journey to save the world, but it feels like eventually she's not really doing much. It's very much simply some sort of luck that everything works out? I'm also asking myself, what kind of person is our main heroine actually? And I have to admit that I'm not entirely sure? She seems kind, she's young (only 13, which also didn't help because I was expecting a YA when I started, my fault) and there are moments she seems highly intelligent, coming with quite nice solutions for her issues and problems. But I never really connected with her and I also had some trouble really caring about her. I guess that it's a case of me being the wrong reader for this book?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    3.5 stars. Like other reviewers, I was surprised to find that this is a children's book. Faber is so often a writer who considers the darkest realms of human nature that it was a surprise. But then again, Faber said he was quitting writing for good a few years ago, so I suppose returning with something entirely different shouldn't be so unexpected. I saw someone else say this is a book similar to ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND or THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH and I think they're right on. (Though Faber 3.5 stars. Like other reviewers, I was surprised to find that this is a children's book. Faber is so often a writer who considers the darkest realms of human nature that it was a surprise. But then again, Faber said he was quitting writing for good a few years ago, so I suppose returning with something entirely different shouldn't be so unexpected. I saw someone else say this is a book similar to ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND or THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH and I think they're right on. (Though Faber himself credits Dickens, C.S. Lewis, and others.) It is a journey book, a story of one girl who must save the world, as these books often are. I can definitely see it as the kind of book that would work well being read aloud, especially to a classroom, for people who are willing to undergo the challenge. For most of the book, the dialogue is missing the letter D--hence the title--and it takes your brain a couple tries sometimes to figure out what the word is supposed to be. The D bits are enjoyable and fun, and there are some parts of the world Faber creates that are particularly sly. But despite its big imagination, in a lot of ways it is quite standard in the model of this type of story. I will add a note: our protagonist lives in England with white parents, but was adopted from Somaliland. Race comes up occasionally, mostly as a way in which Dhikilo understands being different. But near the very end, there are some villainous characters who refer to her with racist nicknames, one more mild but one with a more loaded history. Children may not recognize these terms as racist, but I think it's worth pointing out, or replacing for kids who may have some trauma around it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    This is a really fun and well paced adventure story, written to mark the 150 year anniversary of Dickens' death. The book takes inspiration from the Chronicles of Narnia and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, both of which come through in the storytelling. However, I can't really say the same for the Dickens inspiration as, beyond the title and use of the name Magwitch, I don't really see that influence within the story. The book follows a young girl called Dhikilo, born in Somaliland but growing This is a really fun and well paced adventure story, written to mark the 150 year anniversary of Dickens' death. The book takes inspiration from the Chronicles of Narnia and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, both of which come through in the storytelling. However, I can't really say the same for the Dickens inspiration as, beyond the title and use of the name Magwitch, I don't really see that influence within the story. The book follows a young girl called Dhikilo, born in Somaliland but growing up in the UK after being adopted by a British couple. One morning Dhikilo wakes up to find the letter D has dropped out of all speech and text and no one except her appears to have noticed. With the help of an ex-professor from her school she sets off on an adventure to solve the mystery and bring back D. The plot is a fantastic premise for a middle grade fiction book although, inevitably and perhaps unavoidably, it did have a lot of holes. This did not spoil my enjoyment of the story though and I found it to be a creative and exciting adventure which children would love with a smart, resourceful and witty heroine.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    I'm a hard customer for kids novels - their charm needs be cut with a cheeky edge to hook me, like Stardust or the fabulous graphic novel The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. This book doesn't have cheek, but it does have charm in its imaginative fantasy world filled with some mildly Dickensian characters, and a heroine who feels like a genuine 13 year old to me. A good book to read aloud to the kids and grandkids while enjoying it yourself, in a mildly nice kind of way. I've read and loved all I'm a hard customer for kids novels - their charm needs be cut with a cheeky edge to hook me, like Stardust or the fabulous graphic novel The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. This book doesn't have cheek, but it does have charm in its imaginative fantasy world filled with some mildly Dickensian characters, and a heroine who feels like a genuine 13 year old to me. A good book to read aloud to the kids and grandkids while enjoying it yourself, in a mildly nice kind of way. I've read and loved all of Faber's adult novels. I read in a recent interview that since the death of his wife he no longer wants to write adult fiction. I can understand that, but I hope with time he may feel differently. In any case, I will read whatever he writes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Something completely different than I expected from Michel Faber. Interesting and funny protagonist Dhikilo in a story that plays with the beaten tracks of stories like the Narnia Chronicles and Dickens, but nothing more than that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Hephzibah

    I'm afraid the best thing about this book is its cover - which really is gorgeous. The story, unfortunately, falls flat. Part of the problem is the marketing - I received the book in a YA book box, but this book is clearly aimed at children aged 9-12 - but also, it just wasn't that great. The driving force of the plot was weak and felt pointless for the most part, none of the characters stood out, and the latter third or so with the Gamp seemed like a poorly-disguised Trump imitation, which pull I'm afraid the best thing about this book is its cover - which really is gorgeous. The story, unfortunately, falls flat. Part of the problem is the marketing - I received the book in a YA book box, but this book is clearly aimed at children aged 9-12 - but also, it just wasn't that great. The driving force of the plot was weak and felt pointless for the most part, none of the characters stood out, and the latter third or so with the Gamp seemed like a poorly-disguised Trump imitation, which pulled me out of the story and annoyed me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    ftnrsnn

    One day, you wake up like any normal day and proceed doing your ideal morning routine like the previous days; you wake up refreshed and ready to start your day, except that day you notice something is wrong – the letter D. It seems to disappear from the language. Instead of 'Good Day' it becomes 'Goo ay', 'Darling' becomes 'arling' and then soon, it's getting worse when all the things with the letter D start to go missing; local dentist and the neighbor’s Dalmatian. A tale of Two Worlds is a mode One day, you wake up like any normal day and proceed doing your ideal morning routine like the previous days; you wake up refreshed and ready to start your day, except that day you notice something is wrong – the letter D. It seems to disappear from the language. Instead of 'Good Day' it becomes 'Goo ay', 'Darling' becomes 'arling' and then soon, it's getting worse when all the things with the letter D start to go missing; local dentist and the neighbor’s Dalmatian. A tale of Two Worlds is a modern retelling of Dickensian fable that follows the journey of Dhikilo, while in the quest of seeking the answer to the disappearing of the letter D has found herself in the middle of another world known as The Land of Liminus. I never read anything like this before, so I was quite mesmerized by the idea behind this book. I’m quite enjoying the world building Faber has created throughout this story; situated in a scenic of London surrounded by picturesque mountains is the small town where Dhikilo lives with her adopted parents. Per detailing as portrayed throughout Dhikilo’s eyes, I can only imagine how homey her town looks (what is wrong with me and the small town). And the fantasy land where Dhikilo’s adventure takes place, I can picture it as a magical world that is full of weird, wicked and wonderful people and animals. Along with it, I also think that the vocab-play; trying to find words with similar meaning only without the letter D or rephrasing the sentences is quite a brilliant concept. Feeling like you’re playing a Thesaurus game, and God knows how much I love Thesaurus! LOL! For a middle grade book, I think it's quite a pleasurable read - not too bad, but it's still not enough to overlook the plot hole and its underdeveloped character. If you're looking to read something that holds depth in its story, I think this book is still lacking that element. It feels like something is missing. Also, I sometimes find the events that happened in this book were quite random without any concrete connection. Still, it has introduced me to a unique concept that I hadn't seen before, for that I cherish. And, honestly it’s still worth a try especially if you have family members between the ages of maybe 10 to 18, this book is perfect for them. I'm sure they will appreciate it more. Thank you Times Reads for sending me a review copy of this book in return for an honest review. This book is available in all good bookstores Malaysia and Singapore. INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

  19. 4 out of 5

    Delphine

    13 year-old Dhikilo wakes up in a world where the letter D has mysteriously vanished from everyone's speech - what's more, she seems to be the only one aware of it, and the only one still capable of producing D's. Her history teacher professor Dodderfield and his mysterious sphinx Nelly lure her away to a mysterious other world, in order to retrieve the missing D's. The wintry country is populated by odd creatures and ruled by the authoritarian Gamp. Faber traces Dhikilo's and Nelly's steps in a 13 year-old Dhikilo wakes up in a world where the letter D has mysteriously vanished from everyone's speech - what's more, she seems to be the only one aware of it, and the only one still capable of producing D's. Her history teacher professor Dodderfield and his mysterious sphinx Nelly lure her away to a mysterious other world, in order to retrieve the missing D's. The wintry country is populated by odd creatures and ruled by the authoritarian Gamp. Faber traces Dhikilo's and Nelly's steps in a search for liberation that resembles the one of The Wizard of Oz . And yet, Faber's tale lacks the symbolism and subtlety of Oz. There is no personal quest for Dhikilo to pursue (initially, Faber hints at her background as a Somaliland girl, but doesn't really explore this any further), nor do the creatures she meets serve any higher purpose. All in all, this fantastic tale falls rather flat, which is not in line with Faber's work at all. A possible explanation is that this work wasn't only conceived many years ago, it's also been adapted to fit a Charles Dickens commemoration. It's highly likely it lost some of its spirit during the process. D is indeed nothing more than a tale of two worlds.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This was an enjoyable read, but I struggled to find its....originality? Every encounter and setting made me think of other stories, whether it was Narnia or The Wizard of Oz. And I found it odd that it was mainly a story that came to it's own resolution, without the 'Heroine' really doing much of anything. Did she help? I'm unsure. Still, a quirky story about moral courage and self determination I can see being loved in years to come. This was an enjoyable read, but I struggled to find its....originality? Every encounter and setting made me think of other stories, whether it was Narnia or The Wizard of Oz. And I found it odd that it was mainly a story that came to it's own resolution, without the 'Heroine' really doing much of anything. Did she help? I'm unsure. Still, a quirky story about moral courage and self determination I can see being loved in years to come.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angel

    This reminds me of a Pilgrim's Progress meets The Wizard of Oz. I liked the concept a lot but to me, the end of the journey was alittle too anti-climantic but, it still had a good and happy ending. I just wish it had more of a conclusion to the journey... This reminds me of a Pilgrim's Progress meets The Wizard of Oz. I liked the concept a lot but to me, the end of the journey was alittle too anti-climantic but, it still had a good and happy ending. I just wish it had more of a conclusion to the journey...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris Haak

    More of a children's book, but a great one! Thank you Random House UK for the ARC More of a children's book, but a great one! Thank you Random House UK for the ARC

  23. 5 out of 5

    Blue Geranium Books

    A delightful portal fantasy with nods to Dickens, this novel features a strong-willed female lead, full of spunk and determination. It is a highly enjoyable tale, even if the climax feels a bit rushed. The audiobook narrator — Isabel Adomakoh Young — does a fantastic job, even if the auto-tuned singing was slightly distracting. Recommend for fans of children’s portal fantasy and modern fairytales!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ola G

    6.5/10 stars Full review available on my blog here. Let me start by saying that I discovered, with some surprise, that I'm not the intended audience for this book: it's definitely a children's book, one of the few occasions where these distinctions do matter. D: A Tale of Two Worlds is full to bursting with good intentions and important issues, from the casualty of racism in modern England to the plight of immigrants from Africa, to xenophobia and post-truth and the power of words. And yet all of 6.5/10 stars Full review available on my blog here. Let me start by saying that I discovered, with some surprise, that I'm not the intended audience for this book: it's definitely a children's book, one of the few occasions where these distinctions do matter. D: A Tale of Two Worlds is full to bursting with good intentions and important issues, from the casualty of racism in modern England to the plight of immigrants from Africa, to xenophobia and post-truth and the power of words. And yet all of them are very much simplified, made slightly anecdotal and not really significant (with the exception of the disappearance of the letter D which becomes the catalyst for our protagonist's journey) - more like inconveniences than some truly troubling issues. At the same time, it's a bit of a self-indulgent book, delighting in taking barely concealed potshots at Trump, which for a young reader might be a tad confusing. While Faber in the afterword indicates his inspirations - mainly Dickens, who even makes an appearance as a very old and eccentric history professor, but also Lewis's Narnia, Thurber's The Wonderful O and the Wonderland novels - I mostly felt that D: A Tale of Two Worlds was a modern twisted retelling of Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is not a bad thing in itself, but I expected a bit more originality from Faber. That said, I enjoyed the first, more realistic part of the novel a lot - much more than the second. Dhikilo's real-life troubles were to me much more interesting than her fairy-tale exploits in the world of Limnus. Her difficult situation as an orphan immigrant from Somaliland in the middle of the very white and very British English small coastal town was timely and interesting. But the remaining two-thirds of the book seemed in contrast surprisingly generic, with various obligatory monsters needing conquering or tricking along the way, and topped by a thinly veiled satire on Trump and his followers. And here lies the crux of the problem: Faber's tale is tonally uneven, oscillating between a fairy-tale and a newspaper editorial, and disregarding internal logic in favor of presenting author's pet peeves. It seems like Faber couldn't fully decide who is the intended reader of D: A Tale of Two Worlds, and in the end settled on himself. If it sounds harsh, it shouldn't (well... not entirely :P) - I am of the opinion that authors ought to love their works. Though they should also be able to accept criticism ;). [...] As it is, Faber’s novel is interesting enough to breeze through during a lazy afternoon. D: A Tale of Two Worlds is laudably conscious of the mundane problems of the modern world, but ultimately fails to bring a sense of wonder to the magical part of the tale. I have received a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chrys

    Absolutely phenomenal. A beautifully written fairy tale that reminded me so much of authors such as CS Lewis, Frank Baum and of course, Charles Dickens. This was an utter joy to read, full of hope and joy. I loved Dhikilo so much, she was full of gumption and was one of the most delightful characters I've read in a long time. I have high hopes for this, and the fact that it is so gorgeous is a bonus, I have ordered myself a signed copy of the hardback. Absolutely phenomenal. A beautifully written fairy tale that reminded me so much of authors such as CS Lewis, Frank Baum and of course, Charles Dickens. This was an utter joy to read, full of hope and joy. I loved Dhikilo so much, she was full of gumption and was one of the most delightful characters I've read in a long time. I have high hopes for this, and the fact that it is so gorgeous is a bonus, I have ordered myself a signed copy of the hardback.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Harris

    I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance e-copy of D via NetGalley. Michel Faber's latest novel is a fun children's adventure, with much danger and peril and plenty of humour. Schoolgirl Dhikilo has already, by the time the story opens, survived more than her share of adventure, having been rescued by her father as a baby from the almost-a-country Somaliland (not Somalia, as she carefully explains). Finding sanctuary in the UK, she is settled in the town of Cawber-on-Sands on the South Coast w I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance e-copy of D via NetGalley. Michel Faber's latest novel is a fun children's adventure, with much danger and peril and plenty of humour. Schoolgirl Dhikilo has already, by the time the story opens, survived more than her share of adventure, having been rescued by her father as a baby from the almost-a-country Somaliland (not Somalia, as she carefully explains). Finding sanctuary in the UK, she is settled in the town of Cawber-on-Sands on the South Coast with her pleasant foster parents Ruth and Malcolm. Faber shows us how, while happy with them and at school, Dhikilo misses the culture and country she was too young to remember, devouring any facts or gossip she can find online or in the local bookshop or library. Those early parts of the story are filled with longing and missingness even while - as Faber explains - Dhikilo isn't quite sure what it is she's missing. So perhaps Dhikilo is ready for another adventure when it comes along, as come along it does. Things begin to go wrong. To disappear. Specifically, the letter "D" - then things containing it. So soon there are no more ogs, no more octors at the surgery and no onkey derby at the annual fete. Soon, there is a politician on the TV saying that iversity is all very well, but not if it gets in the way of forging a strong, safe nation. Why can only Dhikilo see what's missing? That's not clear. Maybe because as an outsider, she's more receptive, more ready to ask questions, awkward questions, and get into trouble for doing so? Even to travel to a strange world (after all, it's not the first time) where she might discover the truth about what's been happening and perhaps even do something about it? That's what happens, courtesy of a mysterious adult whose house has a gateway in the attic to a frozen world. If that makes you think of Narnia, then yes, it's supposed to - Faber is perfectly clear about the inspiration here and some of the events through that doorway will remind you of CS Lewis's books and the films of them. But there are differences too, I think. In particular, while Dhikilo has an animal guardian here - a Sphinx called Nelly, no less - there's no religious aspect, as with Narnia's Aslan, and much of Dhikilo's progress depends above all else on her courage, common sense and kindness. She has a series of challenges to meet, which I won't say anything about - spoilers! - and as the story unfolded I recognised another influence here: Charles Dickens, with many of the settings and creatures named after, or reflecting, his books - we meet the Quilps and the Drood (sorry, the roo), the names of the rooms in a hotel called Bleak House are based on London prisons and most sinisterly of all, there is a Big Bad called the Gamp, supported by unpleasant magwitches, creatures he claims to be enemies but is working hand-in-glove with. (A bit of satire aimed at lying politicians, I think). Anyone reading this book who doesn't recognise these names (or some of the scenes and events) won't be puzzled of confused by the story, but if you know what they mean, it does add a little bit to your enjoyment, as will the details revealed towards the end about a certain Professor and his home. This is, as I have said, above all an exciting, dangerous adventure with a resourceful and wise central character. The subtitle, "A Tale of Two Worlds", as well as its allusion to Dickens, may refer to Dhikilo's adventures in England and in Liminus or to her passage from Somaliland to England, or possibly both. There are, I think, many more than two worlds here, giving much to explore and discover. I'd strongly recommend D.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    "Or, as the Professor used to explain it when he gave history lessons about revolutions, an "explosion of fed-upness." ------------------------------------- D (A Tale of Two Worlds) is a beautiful fairy tale about a dauntless heroine, Dhikilo, who wakes up one morning to find the letter D has disappeared from the alphabet. At first, it just seems uncomfortable and Dhikilo wonders why no one seems as perturbed as she is. But then, things starting with the letter D start disappearing as well she enl "Or, as the Professor used to explain it when he gave history lessons about revolutions, an "explosion of fed-upness." ------------------------------------- D (A Tale of Two Worlds) is a beautiful fairy tale about a dauntless heroine, Dhikilo, who wakes up one morning to find the letter D has disappeared from the alphabet. At first, it just seems uncomfortable and Dhikilo wonders why no one seems as perturbed as she is. But then, things starting with the letter D start disappearing as well she enlists the help of a former teacher who sets her on a path to another dimension to set the world to rights. She goes through a Narnia-like magical door with a dog who is actually a sphinx at her side. The journey she goes on is reminiscent of Dorothy through Oz, she meets all sorts of interesting citizens of this magical world that has been stealing her D's. There are moments of strife and fear; there are moments of joy and triumph. Can she make her way to confront the evil dictator and find out how to restore peace, order and the letter D to the world? The way this story is told is beautiful and fun. The narrator laughingly tells us when a character is important to remember or irrelevant to the story. The details of who Dhikilo is and why she is perfect for this pursuit is so lovingly told. If you're looking for a beautiful story to get lost in this year, D is it!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Dixon

    A few reviewers have expressed confusion over whether this book is written for adults or for children - well, it's clearly written for children, and it's irrelevant that Faber's other works have all been for adults. Nevertheless, as an adult who derives a great deal of pleasure from reading books written across many genres and across all age groups, I read this as if it was written for me. I like the concept of a missing something that turns the world upside down. Published early in 2019 is the f A few reviewers have expressed confusion over whether this book is written for adults or for children - well, it's clearly written for children, and it's irrelevant that Faber's other works have all been for adults. Nevertheless, as an adult who derives a great deal of pleasure from reading books written across many genres and across all age groups, I read this as if it was written for me. I like the concept of a missing something that turns the world upside down. Published early in 2019 is the fabulous Willow Moss & the Lost Day which leads the thinking reader to ponder what it really would be like if a whole day goes missing from the world. In this book it's the letter D (and seriously, to the quibblers, who cares why it should be that letter and not another - villains are allowe to make arbitrary ecisions as they please) and Faber writes it brilliantly. So funny. The adventure is fun, with some great characters and a ridiculous (so we discover) dictator, but also some life-threatening situations to keep us enthralled. On top of that there's the our-world issue of being an adopted African child in small-town England . . . and a nicely unresolved end there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Grace W

    (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) I mean I would say I'm disappointed but that would imply that I was expecting anything from this. This has aspects of The Phantom Tollbooth and elements of Narnia with the impact of neither and the writing style of someone significantly less interesting. This book felt so much longer than it actually is, dragging in parts while going far too quickly in others. It is trying far too hard to be a quirky kids book in the vein of Aru Shah or Morrigan Crow and ins (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) I mean I would say I'm disappointed but that would imply that I was expecting anything from this. This has aspects of The Phantom Tollbooth and elements of Narnia with the impact of neither and the writing style of someone significantly less interesting. This book felt so much longer than it actually is, dragging in parts while going far too quickly in others. It is trying far too hard to be a quirky kids book in the vein of Aru Shah or Morrigan Crow and instead just feels like an adult who thinks they know what kids read. I literally had to go reread things because I was falling asleep while trying to read this book. I'm so bored by this book it almost isn't enough to make me angry at it, just tired.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    I really wanted to like this. I've loved so much of Faber's past work: Under the Skin, The Book of Strange New Things, and, most recently and most exuberantly, The Crimson Petal and the White. I just wasn't into this newest one. A girl named Dhikilo travels to a wintery world through a portal in an old professor's house (nods to C. S. Lewis obviously intended). Updated from that monarchical fantasy, however, she encounters a land where a dictator named Gamp has enthralled the populace, though he I really wanted to like this. I've loved so much of Faber's past work: Under the Skin, The Book of Strange New Things, and, most recently and most exuberantly, The Crimson Petal and the White. I just wasn't into this newest one. A girl named Dhikilo travels to a wintery world through a portal in an old professor's house (nods to C. S. Lewis obviously intended). Updated from that monarchical fantasy, however, she encounters a land where a dictator named Gamp has enthralled the populace, though he is secretly controlled by a legion of Magwitches (all of the peoples of the land of Liminus take their names from Charles Dickens: the Magwitches, the Droods, even a deadly hotel called Bleak House). Gamp has been leaching from Dhikilo's world too, where the "d"s have been draining from the language. This particularly bothers Dhikilo because her English schoolmates (she was adopted from Somaliland) call her "Dicky," which becomes "Icky" in the new lexical regime. Part Orwell, part Baum, though Faber himself gives shout outs to Lewis Carroll and James Thurber in the afterword, this book seems like it should have much to recommend it; its ideological heart is in the right place. And one of the central conceits--a sphinx to can shape shift into a black lab--is rather lovely. But it's grim without being haunting; satirical without being humorous; derivative without rising to the level of pastiche. As much as I appreciate the Gamp/Trump echoes, they felt very on the nose and not quite rich or deep enough to counter the actual threats of such banal grandiosity and its deleterious effects on language, news, and the social fabric. A disappointment. (Or should I say, "a issappointment?")

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