Contest Sticky

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review : The Satanic Mill by Otfried Preussler

Author : Otfried Preussler
Publisher : Macmillan Publishing Co.
Publication Date : 1972
Genre : Children's Chapter Book
ISBN : 0-8446-6196-1
Series : No
Rating : 3

From Paperbackswap :

In seventeenth-century Germany, a boy desperately wants to escape from a school for Black Magic where he is held captive by demonic forces.

Review :

Krabat has been a beggar boy for the better of a year, traveling from town to town with his two companions dressed as one of the Three Kings. They sing songs for local towns people for mere pennies, and eat and sleep in the barns of the local farmers. He was not always a beggar boy. His parents died, and living with the local pastor was just too much on him, so he ran away.

Krabat is plagued by dreams of a voice, telling him to come to the mill in the Kosel of Fen, although he knows not where this is. He ignores it for the better of two days, and on the third day he decides he must go to this mill. On arriving at the mill he is met by the Miller, he informs Krabat that he will be his apprentice, and gives him room and board. He awakes in the middle of the night to eleven ghostly faces, claiming they are the Miller's journeymen, and for not to fear because they will not harm him.

It is not long before Krabat realizes that things are very strange here at the mill in the Kosel of Fen, and he's determined to find out what is going on. It is not right for young men to be able to do magic, although it is quite helpful at times, and he must know everything that is happening, and why.

This was yet another book that was dropped into my hands by a friend from work. He insisted that it was an excellent book, and that I just "had to read it". I picked it up not even two days ago, and started digging into it. I soon realized, that yes, it was good. I enjoyed the aspect of magic from this book, although there was quite a lot of repetition, and that began to grow annoying for me. The book is set into three parts, each being what goes on in Krabat's three years of being at the Mill. Each part was basically the same, although characters changed, and some events were a little different, or just explained more. I had to give this book a 3 for rating, because yes, I did like it, but it's not something I could say I loved.


Jessica said...

Great review. The premise sounds interesting... and creepy. :) Come over to my blog and grab your award!

Anonymous said...

I cannot agree completely and can't quite understand how anyone can read this outstanding book and not give it the highest rating. It's a masterpiece of literature, it combines a great story of friendship, trust, death, sacrifice and love with suspense and a lot of proficient knowledge about witchcraft, superstition and folklore in Germany. The knowledge of the author about german superstition shows in what you describe as annoying repetition; repetition of certain rituals is an important part in superstitious and magic actions. By describing the magic acts that the boys have to perform each year at certain times of the year the author creates the atmosphere of compulsion and enforcement to which the boys at the mill are spell bound. The book doesn't just describe a story of magic, it's structure does copy the magic rituals of which it speaks. This structure is necessary to show the neverending circle of magic and death in which the boys are caught, because the question to which the book leads is; will they be able to escape the circle of repetition of magic that will eventually lead to the brutal death of each of them, or will they be able to break the circle?
If I'd had to choose just one book that I could keep, I wouldn't have to think twice. I read this book at least ten times and will never get bored to read it.
And DON'T watch the movie! Dont! It's not even a bad copy of this brillant piece of literature! The book lives from the images it creates in your head, don't spoil it by watching a lame movie done by someone who didn't have a clue what a gem he butchered by squeezing it in a 90-minute movie!