Goodreads: Once Upon a Midnight Eerie
Series: The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe #2
Illustrations by Sam Zuppardi
In The Tell-Tale Start, Edgar and Allan Poe, great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the famous writer, defeated an evil scientist who wanted them for his experiments in quantum mechanics. Their subsequent fame landed them the role of the young Poe in a new biographical film being made in New Orleans. Unknown to them, however, a new enemy threatens their lives. Can their new friends Em and Milly Dickinson help them solve the mystery in time? Will Poe, repeatedly thwarted by a meddlesome Shakespeare in the afterlife, be able to warn them? Absurd adventures are sure to come in the latest installment of The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe.
The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe series is a silly, lighthearted celebration of literature, science, and the supernatural. Though the twins delight in the macabre and even meet a pair of real-life ghosts in this latest book, their adventures are so absurd, their complete lack of seriousness so complete, that no sense of danger or fright ever touches the work. Quite simply, Edgar and Allan invite readers to share with them a somewhat zany afternoon without asking for any commitment in return. You either come along for the ride or you don’t–they really don’t care.
I can’t recall if I’ve ever read a book before that seems so comfortable with itself that it makes no pretenses to be anything it isn’t. It chooses to create a nonsensical afterlife where the dead write fortune cookies and even license plates, where Shakespeare is no revered literary idol but a grumpy bureaucrat and refuses to let anyone question its bizarre vision. It flourishes actual ghosts around in a world that previously suggested the dead are trapped in mundane jobs in some sort of warped purgatory, as if it’s perfectly natural they should be there. It introduces not one, but two sets of twins who are descendants of famous writers and apparent geniuses to boot, and dares anyone to say this isn’t plausible. This book wants to be silly and weird and it’s going to do whatever it wants, regardless of whether what it wants makes sense. In short, this book is a delight.
It’s true that Once Upon a Midnight Eerie is very casual with its science and certainly not entirely respectful of its literary influences (if by respectful, you mean it suggests imperfections), but anyone who loves science and literature enough to appreciate it even when it’s being silly will find this book an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. After all, what’s not to love about a book that, when it has something good going for it, like a pair of twins or a famous dead ancestor, decides just to double that factor? Surely that strategy can only make the book doubly successful as the last one! With logic like this, the book is a riot from beginning to end.