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Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
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Splendors and Glooms (edition 2012)

by Laura Amy Schlitz

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4233725,018 (3.86)50
Member:mcbisek
Title:Splendors and Glooms
Authors:Laura Amy Schlitz
Info:Candlewick (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:children's fiction, fantasy, magic, orphans, puppets, England

Work details

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Recently added bybenitastrnad, dmettier, LLCCollection, private library, leselotte, kittyjay, Sarah_Beaudette
  1. 10
    The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones (Inky_Fingers)
    Inky_Fingers: Both magical fantasies in which children are turned into puppets.
  2. 00
    The Book Without Words: A Fable of Medieval Magic by Avi (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 00
    The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these lyrical, richly composed and detailed fantasies are about steely, orphaned girls (and a close-knit boy) who battle menacing, magical figures for survival in a fully-reimagined England: Splendors in Victorian London, Folk Keeper, on a medieval-like English coast.… (more)
  4. 00
    The Toymaker by Jeremy De Quidt (Hollerama)
  5. 00
    A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama by Laura Amy Schlitz (Hollerama)
  6. 00
    The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell (Hollerama)
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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
I loved the setting and the story's opening. The gruesome puppet master as slave driver to orphaned children in Victorian London was enthralling. The book had a pacing problem (for me) near the middle, and I had to slog it out to finish. Once the children leave London for the staid setting of a country mansion, the plot seemed to drag, and the resolution didn't live up to the conflict. ( )
  Sarah_Beaudette | Apr 13, 2015 |
I loved the setting and the story's opening. The gruesome puppet master as slave driver to orphaned children in Victorian London was enthralling. The book had a pacing problem (for me) near the middle, and I had to slog it out to finish. Once the children leave London for the staid setting of a country mansion, the plot seemed to drag, and the resolution didn't live up to the conflict. ( )
  Sarah_Beaudette | Apr 13, 2015 |
I loved the setting and the story's opening. The gruesome puppet master as slave driver to orphaned children in Victorian London was enthralling. The book had a pacing problem (for me) near the middle, and I had to slog it out to finish. Once the children leave London for the staid setting of a country mansion, the plot seemed to drag, and the resolution didn't live up to the conflict. ( )
  Sarah_Beaudette | Apr 13, 2015 |
The Phoenix Stone is a fire opal that grants great power, and a great curse, upon the person who possesses it. Cassandra, an aged woman and witch, has it and wants to get rid of it. Grisini, a wizard and puppeteer in London, wants it but can’t get it. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, Grisini’s apprentices in fantocini, don’t care about it, but are used as pawns in the wizard’s scheme to acquire it. And Clara is the victim of enchantments and a kidnapping plot as her fate aligns with that of the others and to that of the Phoenix Stone. Actually, all of the characters are victims in this tale of intrigue taking place in London, 1816: Cassandra and Grisini are prey to their greed and ambition; Lizzie and Paresfall to the vicissitudes of being orphans at time when poverty and workhouses were common and; Clara of a survivor’s guilt dating back to the death of all of her siblings.

Splendors and Glooms is a fantastic tale with magic and thrills and, rich in detail of setting and thought; but it is also a rather dark and sophisticated story. It is ostensibly aimed at children, ages 8 -12, presumably because the story features children in that age range. The story provides a number of opportunities to explore a different time, place and culture. Listeners actually of the target demographic might benefit from the insight of a more mature reader to more fully explain subjects as death masks, memento mori, London fog, child exploitation, cholera, … than is addressed in the book itself. There is also some rather frightening imagery described in the story: witches burning, a lurid monkey-shaped bell pull, a scene in a crypt, a bit of violence and blood… in fact quite a bit more gloom than splendor overall. There is a trend in children’s literature that encourages walking on the dark side, indulging in the more gothic themes that harken back to the original fairy tales, and Splendors and Glooms follows this trend.

Davina Porter is the British narrator whose work on this book is irreproachable. Her cultured voice, distinct characterizations, her ability to disappear into the text, mark her as a master narrator. In Splendors and Glooms, Davina Porter voices the POVs of an aged crone, an old, sleazy man, a pre-adolescent girl with theatrical training, an illiterate street urchin (boy) and a little rich girl, all with seeming ease. Splendors and Glooms is a relatively long book for children’s fare, but the narrator’s pace never flagged and was as strong at the end as it was in the beginning. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Apr 4, 2015 |
While this book was well written and fanciful, it wasn't quite my cup of tea. I read it because it's one of the Young Hoosier Book Award nominees and was highly commended for being a great book for middle readers. I won't deny it that, it's got a unique plot, memorable characters, and a sense of foreboding. The story follows two young orphans who are in the service of puppet master, Grisini. Grisini is a cruel, unlikable man, but little do they know that he dabbles in magic. When a young wealthy girl goes missing they wonder what his involvement can possibly be. They soon realize that things are not what they seem and they are in the middle of a decades old feud for power. Can the orphans help save the day, will they be able to tell right from wrong? ( )
  ecataldi | Mar 7, 2015 |
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Dedication
For Susan and Tom Brown,
who were with me every step of the way,
reading every chapter of every draft

And for Kevin Coll,
who rescued me in my darkest hour,
and told me that the magic bone is connected to the love bone.
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The witch burned.
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Book description
When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.
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When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.… (more)

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