Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Wisdom's Kiss

Wisdom's Kiss: A Thrilling and Romantic Adventure Incorporating Magic, Villainy, and a Cat
By Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Expected publication September 12, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

This is the story of Princess Wisdom, who longs for adventure, much to the dismay of her grandmother Benevolence. This is also the story of Fortitude, more commonly known as Trudy, a common maid who longs for her soldier to return. And this is the story of Tomas, called Tips by his friends, a soldier who wants to change his life for the better. And it may be the story of the mysterious Felis el Gato, a master swordsman who sees the potential in Tomas.

I had read the first two books in Murdock's series about DJ Schwenk and enjoyed them well enough. I saw this one at ALA and the premise intrigued me, as well as the narrative, so I picked it up and gave it a shot. I'm glad I did. This book was delightful and fun and especially what I needed after all the sad and crazy stuff I've been reading. Lighthearted and fun and filled to the brim with wonderful characters, I really enjoyed this book. Murdock makes the bold choice to tell the story through eight different points of view - and every single one of them works. The novel I read before this had the same multiple point of view idea going on, but in this book, it actually worked. I think it worked so well because each point of view and character is so well-defined and nuanced. This type of narrative works brilliantly for this story - you get to see the major plot points from nearly every perspective. I would have to say the only thing I didn't like was how things turned out between Dizzy, Tips and Trudy - I know the author interview in the back said Murdock worked hard (after input from her kids) to make Dizzy more likable and her actions more justified, but it still didn't feel that way for me. However, I loved Escoffier and the role he played in the story and I especially loved the ending (though, I must admit, I totally saw it coming). I think whimsical is the best way to describe this book. A highly recommended read.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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