Title: Kraken Bake
Author: Karen Dudley
Page Count: 472 pages
ISBN: 9780888014665 (Ravenstone; UK; 2014)
Format: Trade paperback edition
Worth a Read?: Absolutely yes!
“It’s a great day for Greece when Perseus defeats the dreaded kraken. But victory begins to lose its lustre when the remains of the beast swamp the shores and fishing nets of the Aegean. Now after weeks of kraken cakes, kraken kabobs, kraken fritters, and kraken stew, everybody is getting decidedly sick of kraken – none more so than Chef Pelops.”
This was a surprise for me. First, it was a surprise that I picked it up from the shelf with nary a word known about it, and, second, because I ended up enjoying it so much! I have a bit of a terrible track record for picking up books on the fly, so this was a welcome change.
Kraken Bake is set in Greece and littered with characters who, if you have any love of mythology, you’ll quickly recognise, but these are not your mother’s Greek icons. This book is neither a history, nor a mythology lesson. There are elements of Greek myth and society interlaced in this fantasy tale, but it is exactly that—fantasy.
Dudley, however, crafts the world beautifully with enough research and reality to ground the story and make it believable. I didn’t bat an eye when Dionysus shows up in the agora for a chat any more than I did while reading the description of the various shops or architecture there. A cute little tidbit going along with the story are the advertisements for those shops and other elements of the book popping up here and there.
This is, for all intents and purposes, more a comedy than anything else. If you develop any love for the main character, your heart might break a little in places, but his temperament (and narration), the various conflicts, and Dudley’s style are sure to give you a few smiles (maybe some out loud laughs too).