Red-haired Tom may be just twelve, but he has lived alone for several years to protect his adoptive parents, friends, and neighbors from the curse of bad luck with which he was born. When a mysterious gnome that only he can see appears one day, promising to lift the curse in exchange for a favor, Tom wants to believe but refuses to leave his parents and follow the creature. Then the Marauders torch his hometown, his parents disappear, and the likeable youngster is swept up into an adventure full of nasty creatures. He can rely on nothing but his own wits as he tries to satisfy the shifty, angry gnome and finally live free of the curse. What makes the retelling of fairy tales enjoyable is the development of the unexpected and the thoughtful and seeing familiar characters fleshed out into believable creatures. This fifth Further Tales Adventure disappoints. Although a few creative twists reward the persistent reader, most of the story is predictable and plodding. The development of Rumplestiltskin (the gnome) and most other characters is two-dimensional, the monsters literally unimaginable. The setting is vividly developed and the pace is fast and might draw in reluctant readers, but the story itself will disappoint most readers.
In fractured fairy tale style, Tom, cursed with bad luck, has been living by himself on an island in the middle of a river for most of his 12 years, trying to avoid passing his bad luck on to innocent passersby. Then one day, a very odd little man by the name of Rumpel-stiltskin offers to rid the boy of his problem for a little bad luck visited upon an enemythe ruler of a neighboring kingdom. And the adventure begins... With some neat twists and plot turns, this takes ole' "Rumpelstiltskin" to a new level. Give this to those who enjoyed Ella Enchanted or The Ratastrophe Catastrophe.