Harlequin’s Riddle – Book 1 of the Tales of Tarya
Written by Rachel Nightingale
Published By Odyssey Books
I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect when I opened this book. Which is exactly how I like my books to be. If a book has a pretty premise, a pretty cover (and wow, what a cover!) the promise of a new world to explore, and a hint of magic, then I’m willing to give it a go. Harlequin did not disappoint.
Young Mina has a talent for creating stories, and is clearly destined for more excitement than her small village has to offer. When she joins the travelling Players, she learns that there is a magical foundation to her creativity. But is it really magic or just illusion? And why do some of the townsfolk they encounter revile their kind? Perhaps they are simply ignorant and distrustful – or perhaps they know more than Mina does about her new adopted family.
This story is so rich in flavour and colour that it should be served in one of those fancy glasses and sprinkled with glitter.
“Yet the whole rainbow was tiny, no more than a thumbnail in length. She reached out to it with star-shadowed hands, and connected.”
Yet not everything is Happy Rainbow Ponies. There is drama and danger enough to satisfy the most hardened YA reader, and Harlequin’s Riddle draws you in just as deftly as the Harlequin himself.
Do yourself a favour. Go light the Coonara, Spotify some lute or harp music (I’m sure there’s some on there if you look hard enough), pour yourself a mulled goldberry wine, and run away with the travelling folk – just for a little while. You won’t regret it.
Vasily Igorevich Nesterenko (1967, Russia, Pavlograd)
Pierrot and Harlequin
Oil on canvas, 1995
235 x 170 cm