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Meggie Folchart and her father, Mo, find themselves on the run from a mysterious man that Meggie knows only as “Capricorn.” Capricorn is chasing after them, trying to steal a book that they own, and he won’t stop at anything to get it.
First off, let me say that I’m about 20 years older than the reader this book is written for. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t fall in love with it. The big thing that kept me from giving it five stars was that I felt a little bit like the plot moved around in circles. I found myself thinking, “Are we really back here again?” It seems to me that with some creative editing/storytelling the plot would have moved along nicer and the book wouldn’t have been quite so big. That was really the only bad thing for me though.
This was the first of a trilogy, but it tied up everything pretty well. There weren’t any major cliffhangers that left me feeling like I will never be able to wait to find out what happens next.
The translator did a fantastic job. If I hadn’t known that this was originally written in German, I would never have guessed. Everything flowed along very smoothly.
I really liked the characters. The bad guys were really bad, but the good guys were a little more complicated. Meggie and Mo could be a little cranky, and Elinor was always cranky, but she had a softer side too. This all made them seem real and more likeable.
There were tons of quotes in here that I loved:
“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
“If you take a book with you on a journey…an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it…yes, books are like flypaper–memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.
And these quotes included from other books:
“What do those children do without storybooks?” Naftali asked.
And Rob Zebulun replied: “They have to make do. Storybooks aren’t bread. You can live without them.”
“I couldn’t live without them,” Naftali said.
Isaac Bashevis Singer–Naftalie the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus
“For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails…and when at last he goeth to his last punishment, let the flames of hell consume him for ever.”
Curse on book thieves, from the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain.
I think young booklovers will love this book, and older booklovers will enjoy it.
Reviewed January 15, 2009
Read an excerpt.
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Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.