After a close-encounter with Death, young Otto Hundebiss decides he’s had quite enough of war and battle. Guided by a handy set of magic dice given to him by a half-beast, half-man, Otto deserts his regiment and sets out in search of a new life. Hardly has he begun when he meets by chance the beautiful and fiery Saffire on the run from some mysterious peril. Otto is utterly smitten, and when they part, he determines to seek her out and whisk her away from her troubles.

That is just where his troubles begin. On his quest to find his beloved, Otto chances upon a witch and acquires a magic tinderbox that contains equal measures of power and danger. The secret of the tinderbox governs Otto’s fate as he ventures to the city of werewolves where Saffire is kept prisoner by her evil stepmother. But Otto soon discovers that power and magic are tricky friends. Can he master the tinderbox to put wrongs to right? Can he solve the mystery of the three werewolves? Can he save Saffire in time before she is forced to marry a scheming prince? And above all, can he trust his own heart to guide him any better than his magic dice?

Sally Gardner captures the essence of fairy tale in this phantasmal modern adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson classic; for truly, the world of Fairy is full of perils and not for the faint of heart. Scintillating and fast past, this tale will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end, be it a happily ever after… or not.

Be advised, Tinder contains disturbing imagery (though it must be said that David Robert’s illustrations are fantastically eerie, like something out of a Tim Burton film) as well as mature subject matter. This is definitely a book for older readers, and those with a strong stomach to boot!

Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale

Recommended tea: Assam with cream & honey