Darkly humorous and intensely satirical, The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet is a disturbingly hilarious send-up of the fanatical nature of YA fantasy — both the fans who clamor for it and the publishing industry eager to cash in on it.
Award-winning YA author Philip Murdstone is in trouble. His star has waned. The world is leaving him behind. His agent, the ruthless Minerva Cinch, convinces him that his only hope is to write a sword-and-sorcery blockbuster. Unfortunately, Philip—allergic to the faintest trace of Tolkien—is utterly unsuited to the task. In a dark hour, a dwarfish stranger comes to his rescue. But the deal he makes with Pocket Wellfair turns out to have Faustian consequences. The Murdstone Trilogy is a richly dark comedy described by one U.K. reviewer as “totally insane in the best way possible.”
Fans of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett will surely delight in Peet’s send-up of the fantasy genre. The Murdstone Trilogy is ruthless, as Peet offers hilarious and satirical looks at all facets of the publishing industry. The book is at once outlandishly ridiculous and steeped in reality.
Though pitched as a cross-over for both YA and adult readers, I’d argue that The Murdstone Trilogy is much more adult than young adult. Though the character is writing a YA series, his narrative and his struggles are decidedly mature. The slower paced narrative is also more likely to appeal to traditional adult readers, not YA readers.
That said, for anyone involved in the YA publishing industry even remotely — authors, agents, editors, publicists, bloggers, even just passionate fans — The Murdstone Trilogy is a ruthlessly funny examination at the more ridiculous aspects of this book world we love.