Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

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#1556
Unlike the last few entries in this series of posts, 1974's entry is less well known. In fact until I mentioned it on the old forum many years ago, I'd never encountered anyone else who read it. Xiagan had read it, which being as the author is German shouldn't be all that surprising. The original was called Krabat & The Satanic Mill. It was originally published in 1971, but the version I read didn't seem to make it in print as The Satanic Mill until 1974. It was translated from the original German to English by the incomparable Anthea Bell.

The main character of Krabat is a Serbian folk hero, although he's also described as being Wendish, which can also place him in parts of Germany. That he's a folk hero doesn't surprise me at all. The story has that feel about it. I did think for some time that Preussler had used various stories to piece this one together. Although it's not entirely original, it is highly entertaining and well written.

I think the title probably made a fair few of it's target audience steer clear of it, although it was probably what drew 11 year old me to it when I saw it in a local library one afternoon. It has a rather dreamy quality to it, and it is in fact a dream that draws the young beggar boy Krabat to the mill.

There's some pretty scary stuff in this. Black magic, hints of the devil, sacrifice. I got quite involved in Krabat's story and really wanted him to avoid the fate of his friend Tonda. He does have a happy ending of sorts, and although he loses the magic and the advantages it gave him, he does have better prospects than he had when he first arrived at the mill.

I've read it a few times. I managed to find a second hand copy years after I first encountered it in the library. It's had a fair bit of success in Germany and the Czech Republic being filmed at least twice. I last read it a few years ago, and it still holds up for me. A lot of tension and it can still send a shiver up my spine.
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#1570
lejays17 wrote: May 31st, 2024, 09:03 Yet another I haven’t read.

It sounds like something I’d like, so I might add it (figuratively) to my TBR pile so we can discuss t further.
It's not widely read outside of Germany by the looks of it. I think you'd definitely like it, and with the current interest in lesser known fairy tales it could have a new lease of life if someone wanted to rerelease it.
#1576
It's a great book, but I guess I would have had nightmares had I read it at eleven years old. :lol:
In Germany it is marketed as a YA novel but it's definitely on the darker side of it.
Two other very good horror fantasy YA novels are Azrael and Thirteen by Wolfgang Hohlbein, a German mass market fantasy author from the '80-'90 mostly who has written a lot of mediocre books too. I don't think they got translated, though.
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#1577
xiagan wrote: June 2nd, 2024, 09:48 It's a great book, but I guess I would have had nightmares had I read it at eleven years old. :lol:
In Germany it is marketed as a YA novel but it's definitely on the darker side of it.
Two other very good horror fantasy YA novels are Azrael and Thirteen by Wolfgang Hohlbein, a German mass market fantasy author from the '80-'90 mostly who has written a lot of mediocre books too. I don't think they got translated, though.
I was probably considered an advanced reader in terms of subject matter, xiagan.
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