Monday, October 15, 2012

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Splendors and Glooms
By Laura Amy Schlitz
Published by Candlewick Press, August 2012
Source: NetGalley

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini's act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.
(from NetGalley)

Totally creepy. It’s a good story, but really creepy (think Coraline by Neil Gaiman creepy).

Laura Amy Schlitz does a fabulous job of making the characters come alive. You hear many of their voices throughout the book and each character has a distinct personality & point of view. The author also does an amazing job of bringing to life Victorian London and the life of puppeteer. I don’t think I ever realized what all went into puppet shows and how much of a craft it is.

My one complaint is that, although there is a lot of magic in the book, it isn’t explained that well. Yes, I know there isn’t necessarily a rhyme or reason to magic, but it is distracting when it seems like there is magic in the book just to make something happen. I think because everything else was explained in such lovely detail that I missed the fantastical elements having details.

Overall, Splendors and Glooms is a good and creepy book that has the kind of ending that I like!

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