Companion Book Reviews: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl & The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee

Companion Book Reviews: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl & The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee

I recently discovered author Ishbelle Bee's writing through Angry Robot when I fell madly in love with the covers of her books. I wanted to know more about these tales. After reading both, I can easily say that the reader is transported like Alice in Wonderland, into a madcap adventure where fantasy, a bit of dark fairytale and humor entertain. Written for adults, Ishbelle Bee creates her Victorian fantasy wielding a deadly sword in one hand and enchanted pen in the other. Be warned. Danger and enchantment go hand in hand here, so tread carefully.


Title: The Singular And Extraordinary Tale Of Mirror And Goliath
Series: The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. #1 
Author: Ishbelle Bee 
Sale Date: June 30, 2015
Adult: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars
Buy: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human. 

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree. 

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down.

Delightfully dark, filled with magic and the macabre, Ishbelle creates a fantasy fairy-tale just perfect for adults! The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath is one of the more gorgeous pieces of art I've seen grace a book recently. I immediately knew I wanted to escape to this fantastic sounding world. The story opens with a fairytale setting in Victorian England during the Jack the Ripper killings where Mirror and Goliath fight against a deadly enemy from the Underworld. 

What is so fantastic about this book is how Ishbelle manages to include odds-n-ends from fairytales, fantasy, myths, and horror. I felt like I was following her strange breadcrumb trail and could not resist searching for clues she left behind. I loved how she surprised me by cleverly starting off the story very much with a fairytale vibe, with hints of danger eluded to, but nothing to concern myself about. Soon though, I found myself looking over my shoulder and making sure the light was on. The writing, you'll notice the fonts even, go from long, languid and lush to short, snappy and in-your-face. At one moment, I was like: "Did she just use the F-Bomb there?!" and "I could eat her writing it sounds so good." She creates some strange juxtapositions that work so well, with quirky characters and anti-heroes. 

Entertaining and dramatic, I'm so excited to have discovered author Ishbelle Bee's writing! You can go here to read my interview with Ishbelle Bee and get a good feel for The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath, the first book in The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. series. 


Title: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl 
Series: The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. #2 
Author: Ishbelle Bee 
Sale Date: August 4, 2015
Adult: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 211
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Buy: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

The enchanting sequel to The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath

Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in the sinister village of Darkwound. There they meet and befriend the magical and dangerous Mr Loveheart and his neighbour Professor Hummingbird, a recluse who collects rare butterflies. Little do they know that Professor Hummingbird has attracted the wrath of a demon named Mr Angel-Cakes.

One night, Mr Angel-Cakes visits Boo Boo and carves a butterfly onto her back. Boo Boo starts to metamorphose into a butterfly/human hybrid, and is kidnapped by Professor Hummingbird. When Mr Loveheart attempts to rescue her with the aid of Detective White and Constable Walnut, they are turned into butterflies.

Caught between Professor Hummingbird and the demon Angel-Cakes, Loveheart finds himself entangled in a web much wider and darker than he could have imagined, and a plot that leads him right to the Prime Minister and Queen Victoria herself . 

The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl continues the adventures started in book one with the focus this time around on Mr. Loveheart as once again Ishbelle weaves a mesmerizing tale. The story revolves around two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, who end up in the dangerous village of Darkwound where their story entwines with Mr. Loveheart. There's the professor Hummingbird, an odd recluse, with a peculiar fascination with butterflies and Mr. Angel-Cakes, a dangerous demon playing a cat-and-mouse game. Even the grand Queen Victoria makes an entrance. 

When reading one of Ishbelle Bee's books, part of the fun is not knowing what to expect, rather simply enjoying the tale and adventure. With The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl, the satirical style humor and verbal banter used between characters really makes the story pop. I have to admit, I do miss Mirror & Goliath and the fairytale vibe found in the first book, The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath, BUT John Loveheart has me fascinated and very curious. I'm looking forward to more adventures with him and more from Ishbelle Bee!


PLEASE NOTE: Courtesy review copies were provided by Angry Robot in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Angry Robot for the review opportunity.

Book Review: RUTHLESS by Carolyn Lee Adams

Book Review: RUTHLESS by Carolyn Lee Adams

Waiting On Wednesday: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Waiting On Wednesday: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann