Book Review: The Polite Ones by Cody Goodfellow

“Goodfellow is the go-to guy for your fix of things strange and wonderful.”

The Polite Ones by Cody GoodfellowThe Polite Ones by Cody Goodfellow is about a girl who has grown up in an underground world, years after the end of the human world above. She is a member of a clan and it’s customary for them to wear masks most of their lives. She’s left alone with her disfigured brother and baby sister when a knocking at the door startles her. At that time of night she can only guess it to be one of The Polite Ones, a group who enforce the laws down in the world below. Her grandmother told her tales of them before she went away, stories of their strange powers, visits they paid people and the gifts the Polite Ones dole out. Though she is frightened, she is drawn to answer the knocking at her door. What happens after she opens it is an epic dark fantasy that spans the length of only twenty six pages, a feat no ordinary writer can pull off, but we’re talking about Cody Goodfellow here.  Rest assured, he deftly executes the tale, leaving the audience in dark wonder of his skills.

Zara lives in a subterranean society where clans rule and donning masks are a way of life. She is forced to leave her home after defending her deformed brother and baby sister from what her kind call, The Polite Ones. These figures roam the underground civilization bringing order and enforcing rules on the people living there. The Polite Ones are the law, handing down punishment for peoples crimes both those deserving and not-so deserving. Zara kills the mighty Polite One after it poses a threat to her brother, who by law shouldn’t be allowed to live since he’s so deformed. She must react quickly to dispose of the evidence, leaving her brother to get rid of the corpse. She disguises herself in the armor of the Polite One in order to take it to a canal and get rid of it, meaning she must enter the dangers of her subterranean city, something she’s never done. A problem arises when she’s actually mistaken for a Polite One and is called into action. She sees the reality of the society she has grown a member of, and feels the power the Polite Ones wield. A power that’s intoxicating and frightening. The wearing of masks, the policing of rude behavior; these themes point to a few of the woes of our own society, and warns us of our own behavior in a dark fairytale of what could be.

Goodfellow is basically a badass word magician and it shows in The Polite Ones. He created a world bustling with life; its people feel like flesh and bone and not the cardboard cut-outs that some much longer books introduce us to. The danger Zara feels will leave your heart thumping, and as secrets are revealed about her life and her destiny, your heart will slowly crack … there may be a tear shed as well.

The book is short, but the story is well formed and definitely worth the read. The artwork by Marcelo Gallegos is absolutely stunning and fits well with the story. Goodfellow has a way with words that takes this psychedelic dark fantasy to whole new levels. It’s beautiful and raw, breathtaking and heartbreaking with an ending that suits it nicely. Goodfellow is no stranger to the twisted and fantastic, with books like Repo Shark, All Monster Action, and The Snake Handler with J. David Osborne, he displays a talent for warping readers minds with standout prose. His storytelling will assist your imagination to places both frightening and extraordinary, making you feel every heartbreak and triumph the characters endure. He’s written alongside John Skipp and J. David Osborne, he’s taken home the Wonderland Award, and also co-founded Perilous Press. Cody Goodfellow is the go-to guy for your fix of things strange and wonderful. The Polite Ones is a highly recommended read for those who want a quick escape, and for those studying the stylings of masterful wordsmiths.

                                                                                                                                   MICHELLE GARZA

Publisher: Dim Shores
Paperback : ( 26 pps)
Release Date: 10 October 2017

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