May 24

Short & Sweet Review: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman

I normally would have done an Indie Author Book Review Spotlight for JABBERWOCKY because it’s Indie novel, but I wanted to use my Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Characters.

By: Daniel Coleman
Publisher: Self
Pub. Date: April 2011
Format: Electronic
(Also Available in Paperback Format)
Pages: 145
Age Group: YA
Source: Author

Follow Daniel Coleman on: Twitter | Website | goodreads
Purchase JABBERWOCKY on: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

Publisher’s Synopsis: “One, two! One, two! and through and through the vorpal blade went snicker-snack!” Blood pounded in Tjaden’s ears as he breathed in the acrid odor, and his sword didn’t falter. Not after the convoluted road that had led him to set out alone to find and slay the manxome Jabberwocky. But the secrets he’d learned about the Jabberwocky’s sorrowful past made it a sour victory.

How different would the situation be if the girl he loved wasn’t at risk? Why didn’t anyone tell him the dark secrets surrounding the Tumtum tree?

Jabberwocky, a short novel by Daniel Coleman, is the untold story behind Lewis Carroll’s beloved poem. Meet the characters and creatures that inhabit the world long before Alice ever fell down the rabbit’s hole.

While staying true to every detail of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, Jabberwocky provides twists that will keep you turning pages. You might know how it ends, but you won’t believe how it happens.


“What is a use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” I’d first like to thank Daniel Coleman and The Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of JABBERWOCKY in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I’ve always been a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, but I must admit I didn’t know much about his poem Jabberwocky until reading Daniel Coleman’s novella. When I saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland last year, I was surprised by the appearance of a creature resembling a dragon which the characters referred to as a jabberwocky in the movie. I questioned, “There were dragons in Alice in Wonderland? I don’t remember this in the Disney cartoon!”

Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll) is featured in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. I’ve never read the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland so you can excuse my being naive of a jabberwocky because of this. I was intrigued by the premise of Coleman’s novella, yet when I looked at the poem I began to scratch my head. Here is an example:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

Eek! I thought, “How am I going to get through this? How am I going to make heads-or-tails of this utter word play nonsense?” But alas…Coleman vividly and magically makes the poem come alive and makes it easy to understand. If you are looking for an exciting, high-fantasy story with adventure, nail-biting suspense and romance, JABBERWOCKY is for you! I love this little gem of a book.

JABBERWOCKY is broken up into seven parts which in turn are the seven stanzas of the poem. Throughout the story are footnotes for the definitions of words such as brilling, wabe, frumious, etc. so don’t worry! The story starts off in high-gear with two fair maidens who are celebrating their sixteenth birthday in the village of Dehva within the Palassiren kingdom, when out of nowhere the malformed monster, the Jabberwocky, swoops down and takes the girls, killing several people in the process.

The story then moves into the world of Tjaden “Jay” and Ollie, two brothers who are in their family’s orchard discussing the existence of the Jabberwocky. Jay thinks the story isn’t true, but Ollie begs to differ. He believes the myth and tells Jay about the two missing girls.

Jay has better things to do than discuss the non-existent Jabberwocky. He needs to focus on the upcoming Swap and Spar in town, where he can impress the King with his sword-sparring. He wants desperately to join The King’s Elite — the King’s solders — just like his older brothers. But first, he will have to prove himself against a worthy opponent.

On the way into the town of Twining Falls, Jay and Ollie encounter a deadly situation. Elora, a friend of theirs and Jay’s secret crush is caught on a ledge by a bandersnatch, a large beast with claws and horns. The incident forces Jay to help his beloved and makes him the town hero. This also captures the attention of the King and draws Jay into the prestigious King’s Elite….and of course against his most daring opponent yet…the very real and dangerous Jabberwocky.

“We’re all mad here.” I was quickly immersed into the world of JABBERWOCKY which is filled with magical beasts who roam the wild lands of the kingdom, quaint villages and equally quaint villagers, plus the strong and un-daunting King’s elite. I definitely could not get enough of this fantastic world!

Each character in the story has their own unique personalities — from Jay who is shy and quiet, but kind and brave; to Ollie who has a wicked sense of humor and some of the best lines in the story; to Elora who is loves Jay and stands by him through thick and thin; and finally, to the Jabberwocky who is frightening and let’s nothing stand in its deadly aim. Minor characters, such as Jay and Ollie’s parents and various members of the King’s Elite are all interesting and well-developed.

I quickly moved through the story. There a few minor grammatical mistakes but all in all JABBERWOCKY is well plotted and thoroughly researched. Many scenes made me chuckle, gasp and even swoon. One of my favorite things about the story is the budding romance between Jay and Elora. I especially love Jay and Ollie’s friendly back-and-forth banter. The battle scenes, though a little lengthy, are visual and descriptive. There’s also some delightful surprises!

“Off with their heads!” Unfortunately, this is not one of my favorite covers. I would have preferred it to be a more colorful cover with Jay sparring against the Jabberwocky, especially because the story is so colorful and exciting. Although, I like the gold shading and font!

“I’m late, I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” I’m looking forward to Coleman’s second novel, HATTER, which is scheduled to be released this summer.

“Sentence first – verdict afterwards.” I’m giving JABBERWOCKY4.5 “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Characters” for frabjously adventurous!


1 COMMENTThis post is filed under: Short & Sweet Reviews, Young Adult • • Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

One Response to “Short & Sweet Review: Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman”

  1. Truman says:

    I just noticed the book is now free on amazon and is currently listed as their #6 top selling free book.