Author: Otfried Preußler
Genres: Adventure | Children | Fantasy | Horror
Length: 275 pages | 3037 locations
One night, young Krabat starts having strange dreams directing him to a mill. At first he ignores them, but then he feels compelled to follow the orders, a decision which will change his life forever.
My first reaction to Krabat was that it was obviously not originally written in English.
I found it difficult to believe it is a children’s book because it deals with pretty heavy stuff, namely black magic.
Our Krabat is a 14 year old boy who makes a living out of begging with two other kids. Then he moves to a creepy mill with a terrifying master and 11 other journeymen.
The story has the feel of a folk tale. I was enthralled by the sense of elusiveness conveyed by the writing. All the dreams and rituals played a major part in it as well.
I had a bit of a difficult time relating to Krabat, though. During his first times at the mill, he was aware that the journeymen were hiding something from him and when something odd happened he would notice and comment that it was weird. However, I never really felt him shocked. He would see all those things happen that made no sense and he would just embrace them and move on. Sort of like Oh, we’re flying? And here I was thinking the clouds were mist.
I guess I felt that the transition from regular, christian life (because he did go to church when he was young) to black arts one occurred much too quickly. Even though I appreciated that there was no clear good versus evil struggle in the book, I remember reading exactly one reflection and that was him saying that those black arts could give a man lots of power and he would like that. That was it. Not a single time did I see him wondering if what he was doing was wrong or about the consequences of such actions.
As the story developed, I felt it got a bit too descriptive at times. I know nothing of mill workings so I felt my mind drifting away on and off.
There were some things I did not really get. For instance,if the master did not want them to read from the book, why did he teach them black magic in the first place? Just so they could work more easily? Or so he would have an excuse to kill a journeyman?
However, I feel that I cannot really use my usual references to measure my enjoyment because the story was just so different. For example, in another book the insta-love would have bothered me immensely. Here it still did a bit but it was so integrated in the magic that it was okay.
I felt the ending was rushed but overall I had a great time reading Krabat and recommend it.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Oct 03 to Oct 08, 2015