Once there was

You are currently viewing Once there was


A wildly imaginative ride through the past, and the present, and the silken threads that weave both together, featuring faeries, griffons, unicorns, giants and other creatures as strange and as wonderful as human dreams, hopes and imaginings are able to construct.

Once there was a girl named Marjan Dastani, our fifteen year old first-person POV narrator, and a descendant of Persia. Marjan’s early childhood was a happy one – weaned on stories, myths and fables as ancient and intrinsically-held-close as her bloodline and her heritage anticipated.

“A place that was real and not real at the same time
A world that was bigger and older than the one I lived in.
It had more light and deeper shadows, and there was room for things to be strange and wonderful. Even when the stories ended, that world never quite went away. “

Marjan’s world implodes, when, wounded from the tragic early loss of her mother, teenage Marjan must also face the unexpected and violent death of her father, a veterinarian long-saddled with a struggling debt-ridden clinic. It is not long before she comes to suspect that there are elements of her fathers practice that may be strangely and mysteriously related to the very stories she was raised on.

A wild and wondrous journey follows, a fantastical world as engaging as it is terrifying – rife with fascinations, puzzles, horrors, dangers and spells – and a missing link, just out of reach for Marjan, that may explain a life held apart, long experienced as profoundly incomplete.

“If you give the darkness a face, then maybe you can speak to it. And if you can speak to it, then maybe you can control it. And after all, isn’t that why we invented monsters?”

I loved this deeply moving and engaging children’s book, sure to delight any-aged lovers of magic, myths and monsters. A twisty, intensely lyrical sort of tale, this book is all-but-guaranteed to inspire feelings “shimmered with gold; like breathing something priceless and rare and warm into our chests.”

A great big thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.

**This book will be published on Apr 4, 2023


Leave a Reply