OF WAR AND TATERS by Ashley Chappell – Review by Francis O’Sullivan

Of War and TatersOf War and Taters by Ashley Chappell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of War and Taters by Ashley Chappell is a whimsical mystery with an endearing cast of characters. As I started reading the book I found it hard to figure out what kind of book it was supposed to be and where the story was going – it seemed like we were being shown a bunch of relatively unconnected events. But as the story progressed, everything began coming together and making sense (well, a bit of sense at least!).
At the centre of the story is a theme of gossip and misleading journalism that is all too familiar in our “post-truth” world. Stories are blown out of proportion or even fabricated for dramatic effect, and even threaten to become self-fulfilling prophecies.
There are characters for everyone to enjoy. The Upper and Lower Jelly River gangs are rival groups of mischievous, inquisitive children who have been thrust into the spotlight. They remind me of characters in books like Swallows and Amazons – sworn enemies until they find something else to team up against. Then there’s the Sherriff (double “r” intended) who seems to be doing quite well for someone whose usually quiet town has been turned upside down. There’s a circus to rival The Greatest Showman, with some excellent characters like Goliath the giant and Chaz the astigmatic ape. There’s Monty the thespian ghost, who reminded me somewhat of Gordon Way in Dirk Gently. I could go on! It’s an eclectic, endearing cast.
For me, this is a five star book. It’s entertaining, engaging and different. If you enjoy books that are both very clever and very silly, such as the works of Douglas Adams and Tom Holt, I would definitely recommend it!

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