Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Splendors and Glooms

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Grade: 3 1/2 stars
Story summary: Strange puppets, creepy puppet masters, old witches dying slowly, lost children, a fair amount of thievery, etc. etc.

Thoughts: Schlitz is good at a mix of creepy, sad, adventurous, and heartfelt. A Drowned Maiden's Hair was similarly excellent in this regard.

The characters were unique while still being familiar. Parsefall was a typical poor, thieving scamp in some ways. A bit of an Artful Dodger type, except more serious. Lizzie Rose was a "good girl", but with the few interesting things she convinced herself were acceptable. Grisini was quite Fagin-ish in many ways, but had interesting complexity in his history with Cassandra and the fact that he's in the puppet business because it's actually his passion. Clara and Cassandra were my definite favourites. They both had rather tragic pasts which psychologically screwed them up royally.

If I had a criticism, I would say that although the multiple view points decidedly create more complexity for each character, they also distract slightly. I didn't feel like the book was quite as cohesive as it might have been.

P.S. Just look at that awesome cover.


Petra said...

I keep seeing this book around and was wondering if I should read it--mostly because of the cover. It's absolutely gorgeous.

RED said...

Well, I thought it was really good, and think you should read it. It's a children's book, but I'm assuming you don't mind that, like me. Also, as I mentioned, it can be slightly creepy. I don't mind creepiness, so it can be hard for me to judge whether other people will find it overmuch or not. But I'm PRETTY sure it'll be perfectly fine.

Petra said...

I love children's books! I think a really good book will enjoyed by all ages, regardless of the age range for which it was written. Corduroy is still one of my favorite stories! I don't mind creepy, either. I'll just make a mental note not to read this alone at night. :D