The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot’s Encounters by Micah Genest

Illustrated by Jack Bauer

Harlot in her childish naiveté and possibly fatal innocence explores a strange and mythical world. She encounters a wide range of creatures whose character can only be defined as a construct of a very wayward imagination. While taking the direction of her inquisition through this strange world, she engages some very strange bedfellows. Will she make it out of there? Just how deep into trouble can Harlot’s curiosity get her? How creative will she be with her escapes?

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John Bauer’s illustrations of this have a dark quality that is definitely present in the story but not quite so pronounced that it is scary. His capture of the very essence of the story is exquisitely moody. The illustrations fit very well into Micah Genest’s plot. The author has developed a story that inspires a strange urge of wanderlust. The story makes the reader want to go on a quest of their own to lands unknown. It is a complex story filled with suspenseful moments. This book is edge of your seat worthy.

Harlot is a typical child. Never stopping to think of the possibilities. She simply charges forward, be what it may. She is captivating and intriguing. She is curious and intense in that she is led by her questions. Her tenacity is admirable. Her spirit is inspiring. The author’s presentation of the bizarre creatures is so lively and does not give the reader pause. That every creature has a specific defining quality is laudable. This is good as it allows the reader to move along as the story progresses. 

Seeing this mythical world with all its strange creatures through the eyes of a child is refreshing. It can easily renew the reader’s perception of the world. The simplicity in a child’s operandi can be addictive. 

In some parts one might wonder if perhaps this book is too dark for children. However, with supervision and consumed in a fun setting it would probably be just fine. There is a lot in the book that would distract the children from the almost obscure darkness. 

For a children’s book, this one is very grown up. To any adult who enjoys fairy tales and does not mind a bit of a dark tinge, they will simply enjoy Harlot’s adventures. They will admire her brilliance. Therefore, this book is suitable for both adults and children. Whether the audience enjoys it remains a question of their preference of the genre. 

This book gets five stars out of five for the plot. It gets five stars out of five for the diverse and imaginative characters. This book gets props for simply being entertaining. Read with an open mind and heart, appreciate the creatures for their substance. Harlot’s Encounters comes highly recommended for anyone looking for a little out of the box literary escape.

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