Sunday, July 15, 2012
Review: Of Giants and Ice
By Shelby Bach
Expected publication July 24, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rory knows about not fitting in: her parents are two of the most famous people on the planet and she's had to move a number of times. But when she's invited to attend the Ever After School, she finally learns that there is something very special about her: she has a destiny as a Character. With her new friends Lena and Chase (well, Chase is more of a frenemy), Rory will have to learn what being a Character means and discover the dark secrets of the Snow Queen.
I feel like I say the same things over and over on this here blog: mostly because I read a lot of books that are similar. And I read all these similarly themed books because they are things that I like. So I'll repeat myself again and say that I love fairy tales and retellings. That means I was pretty excited for this book, though it sounded quite similar to Storybound. My feelings for this book are a bit less than enthusiastic. For me, this was a very slow read. I feel like Bach gets mired down in details that don't necessarily all help to drive the plot forward (although maybe they will be important in later volumes - this being the start of a series, of course). I had a hard time connecting with Rory, but I think kids might find it easier. She is all too frequently the new kid and she is shy, so she has a hard time making friends. Her parents are divorced and there are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with in terms of that problem. And, ultimately, she wants to feel like she's special because of who she is, not who her parents are. These are all things that I think middle-grade readers can easily connect with. The action takes some time to get going, though. After an initial battle with a dragon, there is a very long "research" and exposition phase of the novel before we get back to the Tales and the excitement they involve. I wonder if kids will have patience for this because that section without action really seemed to drag for me. However, once Rory and company get back to the Tales, the book moves forward at a much more engaging pace and the ending certainly has me wanting to read the next installment. Overall, I think the book could have been trimmed more for a better balance of exposition and plot, but it's still an enjoyable read with a definite cliffhanger ending.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.