BOOK REVIEW: The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

The Phoenix Ashes Trilogy

Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Series: None

The Ickabog★★★★/5

SUMMARY: Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food. From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburg to the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them.

But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands… the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it’s just a myth…

And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children — best friends Bert and Daisy — embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.

REVIEW: My first book of the year was THE ICKABOG by J.K. ROWLING. And wow, was it a fitting book to how 2021 has begun. The metaphor of the story is really singular to the political climate in the USA right now, and for it to be able to relate in such a simplistic and innocent way goes to show the complexity of the ideals behind it. The book was somewhat light-hearted and if you don’t look deeper beyond the words written on the pages, the story is an enjoyable and easy read–it’s around 275 pages but definitely didn’t feel like it, because I finished it in one sitting.

King Fred the Fearless: I really hate ignorant characters, but in reality there are many people in the world like this. They’re selfish and vain, and will turn a blind eye to anything that doesn’t directly concern them. I did enjoy the twist at the ending though. While he wasn’t the brains behind the whole Ickabog scheme, he did have a hand in letting it happen due to his inability to rule the kingdom. But his redemption at the end was a great way to show how people can change for the better.

The Ickabog: *Roar* I loved that part and definitely imagined it being said in my head. The bornded idea of their Ickaboggles being brought into the world was such a unique one. It touches on the ideal that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Children are so easily influenced by their parents’ heart and state-of-mind as well as the world that they’re being born into. But even like the first Ickaboggle, people can change with time as long as they are given the opportunity and environment to do so.

Overall, I think this book is great to introduce young readers to the political controversies going on in the world today. While children may not fully understand the extent of what the world is going through at the moment, they undoubtedly feel the tension and know that something isn’t quite right. While to a certain extent ignorance is bliss, I also believe that being educated and possessing knowledge of how the world is changing is an important one to instill into the next generation.

“Monsters” are only as scary as you make them out to be.

People can change if given the opportunity and environment to do so.

Ruling with fear and lies will bring an untimely end to power.

The last thing I want to mention was the fact that J.K. Rowling released one chapter at a time for free online and then held an illustration contest for children to submit their work to be printed in the physical copy. This was a quarantine project for her and I think it was such a great idea to get readers involved in the process. (The drawings are so unique and fanciful!)

I would definitely recommend the book for a quick and light read! Buy a copy on Amazon.