PLEASE NOTE: I'm rarely active here anymore, but please feel free to follow me on Goodreads, where I post regularly.
These are the chronicles of a book addict, a photo junkie, and an aspiring author, rewriting the very fabric of reality one page (and one snapshot) at a time. From the strange to the unusual; the abandoned to the abnormal; the haunted to the historic; the supernatural to the surreal; the forests of dark fantasy, the cemeteries of gothic horror, and the post-apocalyptic ruins of science fiction are the landscapes of my imagination.
Continuing his long-running trend of Bizarro successes, Carlton Mellick III invites us to gorge ourselves on a rain of candy in Sweet Story. It's an entertaining story that's equal part bizarro horror, fairy tale homage, children's story parody, post-apocalyptic thriller, and dark morality play. Not to indulge too much in sweet allusion, but it's like the richest chocolate bar,coated in the finest candy, surrounding a core of sponge toffee . . . which hides a surprise center of the thickest, foulest medicine.
It all begins, innocently (and weirdly) enough with a young girl, her chubby admirer, and a chase through the blurry side of town to find the end of the rainbow. Because this is fantasy, they actually find the end. Because this is parody, the leprechaun turns out to be actual a dirty old homeless man. Because this is Bizarro, he's actually a rainbow pirate, and he offers the children one wish each.
Little Timmy Taco wishes he and Sally could be married forever, while little Sally Sandwich wishes it would rain candy forever. Oh, and her pet turtle wishes he could fly . . . which he does.
Since 'be careful what you wish for' is the oldest kick in the teeth fairy tales have ever offered us, it's no great surprise that those wishes don't turn out well for anyone. Just imagine what might happen if it were to rain candy instead of water, with jawbreakers and hard candy plummeting from the sky, and you can imagine the kind of sweet, sticky, bloody, catastrophic damage that ushers in the end of the world.
Carrying us into post-apocalyptic horror is a goth sister (who is very much an older, darker mirror of Sally), a spiteful mother (who drinks almost as much as she bitches and whines), a disturbingly creepy dad (who smiles and laughs at everything, no matter how horrible and grim, and does so without the slightest sense of irony), and a bunch of talking toys (who have an odd predilection towards torture and murder).
By the end of Sweet Story, Mellick has abandoned us in a world of cannibalistic madmen whose teeth rotted out long ago, alongside two kids who learn the hard way what 'till death do you part' means in the context of a wish to be married forever. It's a fantastic tale that goes wrong at every turn, but which does so with fairy tale style and childish flare. Just don't blame Mellick if you come away from it never wanting to see another piece of candy for as long as you live.