Published April 26, 2011
Paperback, 190 pages
When I saw this book's gorgeous cover and read the glowing reviews, I got this book for my kids so we could discover along with the Finkle kids the secrets they stumble upon in Finkleton. After reading the synopsis to my daughter she told me outright that it sounded very predictable. She didn't seem excited as I was to read it along with me. Nonetheless, I snuggled with my kids on the bed and began reading. The first chapter was promising but by the third chapter, my son told me there was too much dialogue and not enough action.
Both my kids were right.
From then on we struggled through it. My son lost total interest and my daughter and I were bored. The story had an interesting premise about a family who inherited their Uncle Harry's shop and moved to Finkleton, where they discover magical hidden secrets in the shop. The setting is England but the time is unclear leaving us to guess that it took place sometime in the 19th century. I liked this because I envisioned a wholesome story with children who wouldn't be distracted by modern technology but rather would cleverly use their wits to solve the mystery of Finkleton. While the story is wholesome, we did not consider the children witty. Except maybe for Robert, the youngest, who figured things out and took an interest in the hourglasses. But we did like how in the end they came to work together for the good of their town.
The problem was that the story was very slow with not much suspense. The excessive dialogue was irritating because it did nothing to move the plot forward. Each chapter could have been easily cut in half. Too much telling and not enough showing. An editor would have caught this and helped to polish the text.
We really wanted to like this book but in the end, my daughter and I didn't care for any of the children (Jack 14, Lizzy 12 and Robert 8) who bickered like preschoolers and cried often. All the children acted younger than their age. My daughter remarked that Lizzy seemed more like a 7 year-old in her behaviour. I could see that she couldn't relate to her. Moreover, character development was lacking as well as the magical wonder we were expecting. Even Mr. Lowsley, the antagonist (if we could call him that) was quite tame.
This book might work for a young audience but savvy middle-graders who are used to action and adventure and meatier plots... well they might just roll their eyeballs and move on. But that's only our family's opinion. Sometimes tame and predictable is good too.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Middle-grade Book Challenge
Disclosure: Thanks to the author and ReviewtheBook.com for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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I was excited when I saw the book because I love the title and the cover - too bad the book doesn't live up to either.ReplyDelete
The cover picture and font look suspiciously Harry Potter-esque! Your daughter's impression is very cute!ReplyDelete
Don't you think MGers are spoiled with Harry Potter and some of the other fantastic adventure series out there?ReplyDelete
This is such an awesome cover! Thanks for the recommendation.ReplyDelete
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My family and I haven't read the Harry Potter series and we stay away from books similar to this genre, however, we don't mind well-written stories with wholesome magical elements which is what we expected from this book. Unfortunately, the characters and the story elements fell flat for us.
Sounds like a really disappointing read but that cover is very attractive and would make me at least pick up the book.ReplyDelete