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Cinders & Sparrows

af Stefan Bachmann

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482419,673 (4.25)1
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A delightful fantasy that has twists that will challenge and ensnare young teens. It's a book I can imagine reading to my granddaughter when she's a few years older. Solid choice for school and public libraries. ( )
  sennebec | Jan 6, 2021 |
An orphan working as a kitchen maid discovers she's the last heir to an ancient and wealthy magical family. Against terrible odds she must learn her craft, save her two plucky friends, and defeat ancient evil.

'Cinders & Sparrows' is going to work better for actual children than for adults like me reading this to see if they should sell it to children. We all know that every story has been told already, but I had a hard time adjusting sometimes to the sameness of the plot. Even the special touches Bachmann adds to the story, such as the scarecrow delivering the fateful letter to Zita, provoked skepticism. Is it a tribute to Diana Wynne Jones, or is it trying too hard? The ancestral home of the Brydgeborn's is also full of your standard useless rooms with specific names full of magical statuary, talking plants, etc. as well as having corridors end in swamps, because magician's are quirky.

So, there's a lot I didn't like, but what kept me in it? The set-up works because it is so well-worn. It's almost like coming home from school, throwing down your backpack and flopping down on the bed with your latest find from the library. Almost. Bachmann also leans hard on the spookier aspects of the genre, filling the house with spirits and incredibly bleak pictures of the afterlife. Store up those good vibes ladies and gentleman, or your soul will be eaten. Actually, good vibes are not enough, it seems like if you've ever buried anyone without a coin or physical token of affection, they are in the belly of a beast right now for eternity. A single flower doesn't do much good, either. Bachmann does not pull punches - the good news is that the ghost of your pet - maybe ALL of them - is circling around you right now, you're simply just not witch enough to see it. That's so needlessly horrible I have to like it.

Young readers will probably love this, I'll just be over here clutching my classics. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Sep 20, 2020 |
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