Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

A modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett.

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

My first Snow Queen adaptation! And having never actually read The Snow Queen fairytale, I was intrigued by what this had to offer. The book started off with the story of the Marvelous Boy *cue dramatic look of a keyword in the title being mentioned* and how he came to be locked away by the evil queen. Then we jump ahead a few hundred years into the future and meet Ophelia and then we have to figure out her role in all of this.

Ultimately, I was underwhelmed by Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. The writing style was superb. Excellent and achingly gorgeous descriptions; still that fit so well in a fairy tale retelling. However, the story lost me a bit here and there in two ways. One, some of the plot was fairly predictable. There were far, far too many instances where I saw something obvious and had to wait around for the character to figure it out. Two, the plot was slow. It felt like it took a long time to get anywhere So, add the two together and it was well, rough.

I also did like the characters, even if at times, Ophelia was a little slow with things and will probably have a self-esteem-less adolescence. I did, however, loved the Marvelous Boy. There was something so stoic and tragic about his journey that I could have read a book on just him being stuck in a room for hundreds of years and been enthralled.

I still enjoyed the book from the creativity and the beautiful writing (I’m such a sucker for that) but I still wish I’d gotten a bit more bang for my buck.

-Reviewed by Jennifer

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