‘D: A Tale of Two Worlds’ review: A stunning fantasy novel inspired by ‘The Wizard of Oz’

  • The new release from award-winning author Michael Faber has a simple, but engaging plot that you’re sure to appreciate
  • The book is a nice break from the heaviness of other young adult novels
John Millen |

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What would happen if the letter 'D' mysteriously disappeared?

D: A Tale of Two Worlds
By Michel Faber
Published by Doubleday
ISBN 978 0 8575 2510 9

Originally from Somaliland which is located on the Horn of Africa, secondary school student Dhikilo Saxardiid Samawada Bentley now lives with her adoptive parents, Mr and Mrs Bentley, in a small coastal town in the south of England.

One morning, Dhikilo wakes up at her usual time, but as the day progresses, a very strange situation unfolds. The letter D has vanished. It is missing from everything Dhikilo reads, and the people around her are pronouncing words as if there was never a “D” in them.

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It starts with her parents’ conversation at the breakfast table, when the letter was missing from every word her parents said. The road signs on the way to school are all missing it. Her friends start to call her “Hikilo”. Soon, the town’s dentist and the dog next door vanish into thin air. Whatever is going on?

The situation gets worse, and Dhikilo starts to wonder if something odd is affecting her brain. School becomes ridiculous as teachers cross out all the Ds in her work. Nobody else has noticed this strange language change. To everyone else, the letter D has just never existed.

Dhikilo keeps her mouth shut, and carries on as usual hoping this strange phenomenon will correct itself.

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When her former history teacher, Professor Dodderfield, dies, she goes to his funeral service and senses that something is amiss there as well.

Dhikilo decides to investigate and visits the professor’s home, where she is shocked to find the old man very much alive. And he knows who is taking the Ds from the English language, and he enlists Dhikilo to go on a mission to a strange land to rescue the letter.

Without question or fear, Dhikilo passes through a portal in the professor’s attic into the snowy land of Liminus, and her brief is to rescue the Ds from the evil ruler, the Great Gamp.

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On her journey to the Gamp’s palace, she meets many strange people and tribes – the Spottletoes, the Magwitches, the Quilps and the Droods; some of whom are friendly while some are hostile.

Why is the Gamp stealing the Ds and what is he doing with them? And will Dhikilo find a way to stop him?

As the plot progresses, she stays in the grim hotel-like Bleak House, has to escape the Gamp’s guillotine, and when she is finally captured, the Gamp – in a very Wizard-of-Oz fashion – is not all that he was built up to be.

Michel Faber’s D: A Tale of Two Worlds is a stunning fantasy adventure with nods to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

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And in the Author’s Note, he acknowledges his debt to Charles Dickens (Ickens?) for inspiring the fantastic characters that Dhikilo meets on the road to Gampalonia.

An award-winning writer of adult fiction and non-fiction, Faber spins this enchanting tale with a combination of wit and beautiful language. The plot is simple, but engaging and enjoyable. This is imaginative writing without the heaviness that weighs down many other young adult fantasy novels.

D: A Tale of Two Worlds is a captivating adventure that will delight fantasy fans of all ages who are looking for a unique and memorable read.

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