Book Reviews

Harklights by Tim Tilley Book Review [a Middle Grade Fairytale with an ecological message]


Wick has always lived in the dark and dreadful Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage, working tirelessly for greedy Old Ma Bogey. He only dreams of escaping, until one day a bird drops something impossible and magical at his feet – a tiny baby in an acorn cradle…

As midnight chimes, Wick is visited by the Hobs, miniature protectors of the forest. Grateful for the kindness shown to their stolen child, they offer Wick the chance of a lifetime – escape from Harklights and begin a new life with them in the wild…



The illustrations in this fantasy book are simply beautiful, so it’s a shame I couldn’t connect with the story more. I never do well with stories that are basically morality tales of modern day issues, and I didn’t originally realise that this was one, otherwise I may have skipped it.

The set up to the main story caught my attention quickly, showing us Wick’s life in the Orphanage and the matchstick homes he builds when he’s not working packing matchboxes. Finding a tiny baby nestled in an acorn one day, this sets off a series of events that sees him escape the Orphanage and discover a world of little people called Hobs.

What didn’t work for me was that Wick seemed to become part of the Hob’s community within days, and it felt too quick. When the story started nearing it’s end, I still didn’t feel connected to the Hobs because we’d been there for so little time, yet Wick acted as if he’d been there for months.

The ending was good, but predictable and not very memorable. With the lack of fully rounded characters and a storyline that was wrapped up a little too easily, this will be a story I quickly forget, which is a shame because it had nearly everything it needed to be great.

Have you read this book? Loved it / hated it? Let me know in the comments!

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