Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spendors and Glooms (a.k.a Fire Spell) by Laura Amy Schlitz

I heard about this book from Pages Unbound, and thought it sounded interesting. I managed to get a copy, and it was as good as I expected! (Although, finding a copy turned out to be rather difficult. My library has this under "Fire Spell", but I had the title written down as "Splendours and Glooms". Not sure how that happened, but at least I found the book through the author name)

Fire Spell has three main characters - Clara, a rich girl who's suffocating under the weight of her dead siblings, as well as Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, two orphans who help the puppet master Grisini. The book opens with Clara's birthday. She's fallen in love with the puppets, and has managed to invite the puppet master and his helpers to perform a show. However, she disappears the next night, and while Grisini is the main suspect, he soon disappears. It's up to Lizzie Rose and Parsefall to survive on their own.

However, what the two orphans don't know is that dark forces are at play. They've never even considered the possibility of magic, and so have no idea about the witch and Grisini, and what relationship these two have.

This book really kept me flipping through the pages. I wanted to know what happened to Clara, and what on earth was going on with the witch and Grisini. The two adults basically tried to manipulate the children throughout the whole book, and I was really rooting for the kids to find out what's happening.

What I liked about this book were the characters. None of the kids were perfect, although Lizzie Rose certainly tried her best. Clara has problems with her family, since you know, her siblings are dead. Lizzie Rose was born to actor parents (her dad seems really famous), but now she's reduced to the status of an orphan, and tries her best to remain a lady. Parsefall is a thief, but he's also a gifted puppeteer, and although he may try to be a hardened streetrat, he still has his moments of vulnerableness.

If you like magic, brave characters and enjoy flipping through pages for long stretches at a time, you're probably going to enjoy this book. I certainly did, and while I was a little sad to see the book come to an end, I'm glad that all the children received their happy endings.

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