"'I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.'
'Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?' said Fred.
'That was a sample of fertiliser from Norway!' said Percy, going very red in the face. 'It was nothing personal!'
'It was,' Fred whispered to Harry, as they got up from the table. 'We sent it.'"
"In the beginning there was darkness, and in the darkness was a girl. And in the girl was a secret. The secret was as old as the cracked cobble streets of Yuan, as peculiar as the roses that bloom eternally within the domed city's walls."
It's going to be extremely hard not to write any spoilers when there's so much I want to talk about. To point out the obvious this is a retelling of beauty and the beast, Isra is a princess and Gem is what her people call monstrous. The start of the book explains how the current world has come to be and the magic that brought it about. Years ago people settled on the planet, those who lived in the domed cities were protected whilst those left in the desert would mutant and adapted to their environment. Centuries later something is keeping the domed cities flourishing and the desert people are attacking one by one.
Isra is the first blind lead I've ever read and I loved her, she understands her world so differently to everyone else and she's not afraid to explore, to escape her rooms she'll hop out the window and run across rooftops. Isra is born knowing she is to be sacrificed, and what I loved the most about her is that she isn't whiney or pathetic about it, she knows that sacrifice is necessary for her people. Due to the fact Isra is blind she's treated differently, she has had to rely on others and take their word as truth. There is so much more I want to discuss about her, but spoilers. Like the monstrous she will do whatever it takes to keep her home of Yuan going, explore every option she can, even escape if she must.
Gem, a monstrous, is sent out to sneak into the city but becomes captured along with others, it's a chance meeting with Isra that saves his life and buys him time to build a plan. Get close, gain her trust and do the job. He is constantly comparing himself to his father and brother, scolding himself at how he believes he's failing his people. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and for the desert people time is running out. The two world have been separate for so long, they've been reduced to stories and myth, which for Gem is a godsend. With Irsa having only heard stories of how they survive and how they can grow herbs with healing qualities Gem uses this to advantage to get close. He is determined to prove himself, the mother of his child has left him for another and with their home on the verge of collapse he must find the secret of Yuan.
Bo was a surprise character for me, he's not really the bad guy. Not at heart. He is simply a product of the Yuan, he believes what he's been told and genuinely cares for Isra. By all means he is no Gaston that's for sure, if anything his father is Gaston. Thankfully this doesn't turn into a love triangle, Isra has more important things to worry about, although she does reflect on the idea of marrying Bo. I don't think I could have bared if this had turned into more of an romance novel.
After I went to Disneyland Paris last year my best bud Alice bought me this book for Christmas. I love Disney!! I can’t wait till I go on Sunday!! I’ve always had a massive appreciation of what goes on there, even before it went, whenever me and my friends would end up talking about it I’d always say how hard it must be to work there, especially if you’re a Princess. And this book really enforces this, for us it’s this amazing and magical world but for them it’s work.
This book doesn’t really have an aim, it’s not a love story it’s just a story of two people trying to find themselves and get on with their lives. As much as I was rooting for Sam and Ella to be with each other all I really wanted was them to find their way, do what made them happy. This book takes place at Disneyland where the actors have gone on strike and they’ve drafted in teens to play the parts till it all gets sorted.
The story switches between Sam and Ella, Sam plays one half of Chip and Dale and Ella plays Cinderella. Sam is very much a wondering soul, his life has been mapped out for him, when he becomes old enough to join his brother and dad in the family company. To everyone around him this seems like the ideal thing, a great job with great money and perks, he doesn’t even have to work for it. Sam just goes with things because he should, he can see his girlfriend is gorgeous, every guy there thinks so and tells him as much, but Sam plays the part hoping it will all fall into place.
Ella. Oh Ella. Somehow Ella has managed to keep going when it’s clear she is barely keeping it together. I don’t want to spoil to much her backstory, but there are moments in this when she is okay and we get a small glimpse of what she’s like. But to a lot of people there she’s odd, she asks odd things and looks at you hopefully for an answer. I don’t want to portray her as the outcast or anything because she does make friends and she is social, but when she’s with Sam she’s really herself. He listens to her, really listens to her, answers her questions.
This book is really like anything I would ever read, and I am glad of it as it was such a nice book, but like I said nothing really happens, but following Sam and Ellas friendship keeps it going, you hope she’ll bare her soul to him and he’ll realise he should do what makes him happy. But like I said, all you want them to do is work it all out.
This review can also be found at Goodreads.
Finally we have come to the end of the woeful tale that is the Baudelaire orphans. I feel you'll either really like this book or you won't, as to some it might feel like you don't really get an ending you want. To me there only could have been two endings, a middle ground where things are okay enough for them but they've survived it all or things went dramatically south. There could never have been a happily ever after where these children are concerned, they've been through too much and faced some pretty crappy odds, I could never be satisfied with this book ending with everything being perfect just because it's a children's book. It wouldn't fit these stories and it would be a real slap in the face to young readers.
Again Snicket never dumbs things down just because it's aimed at young readers, this series teaches a lot of things to children and most importantly sometimes you have to do something against your morals for the greater good.
In this final book the orphans find themselves on an island far from VFD and villains and with people who aren't willing to put up with Olaf, which is rather amusing. Could the children finally have found a safe haven?? Could they have found somewhere where VFD and the treachery of the world can't reach them??
Although not as fun as the first few and the repetitive style, the 13th book still can't help but get you invested and continue the need answers, and this is where this series is such a winner. It keeps you going book after book. Still the one thing I feel was missing was the time frame this all took place, I know it's all happening very quick but for me I would have liked it. This series goes to show that childrens books aren't just for children.