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Splendors and Glooms

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7575024,345 (3.83)60
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)
  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 (HollyMS)
  5. 00
    A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama by Laura Amy Schlitz (HollyMS)
  6. 00
    The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell (HollyMS)
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» See also 60 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
middle-grade fantasy. creepy magic and dark--very dark towards the end. definitely for older kids. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Set mainly in London in 1860, Splendors and Glooms tells several stories: that of Clara, a rich girl whose four siblings, including a twin brother, died of cholera; of Lizzie Rose, orphaned daughter of actors; of Parsefall, plucked from the workhouse by puppeteer, magician, and thief, Grisini; and Cassandra, who possesses a magical fire opal that torments her.

Grisini, Lizzie Rose, and Parsefall perform a puppet show at Clara's birthday; soon after, she disappears, leaving her parents frantic over the fate of their one remaining child. Not long after, Grisini himself disappears - dead, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall hope, but it's not so. Cassandra lures the two children to Strachan Ghyll, hoping one of them will steal the opal and relieve her of it - but it's Clara, imprisoned as one of the fantoccini by Grisini, who saves Cassandra, and Lizzie Rose and Parsefall who save Clara in turn.

Victorian, darkly magical.

See also: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Quotes

"I should have thought that today's incident might teach Clara the value of repressing her feelings." (Dr. Wintermute, 41)

"Magic power cannot be had for nothing. There must always be some sacrifice. You of all people ought to know that." (Gaspare Grisini to Cassandra Strachan Sagredo, 129)

Her anguish increased his own. (Dr. Wintermute and Ada Wintermute, 172)

His heart seemed to stand still. At the same time, he was quite composed; the worst had happened and nothing could ever hurt him again. (178)

"You know how it is. Someone pretends to love you, and you give too much away." (Cassandra to Clara, 215)

:If someone offers you something you want, you should take it." (Cassandra to Lizzie Rose, 352)

"That she should hate me, that she should forgive me: either one is a torment. For seventy years, [Marguerite] has haunted me." (357) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 26, 2020 |
This one is dark, dark, dark. It has all the elements of a truly macabre tale: fire, fog, ice, blood, and, of course, orphans.

Gaspare Grisini does marionette shows with his two charges, Parsefall and Lizzie Rose. He has taken them in, but he is certainly not fatherly. The day after performing in the Wintermute home for Clara Wintermute’s birthday party, the children discover that Clara has gone missing and suspect Grisini. But what has he done with her?

Their problems are compounded when Grisini hurts himself in a fall and disappears. The children intercept a letter addressed to him and decide to find its author, a rich and lonely old woman named Cassandra, in hopes that they might inherit her fortune when she dies. It is in Cassandra’s home that the children begin to uncover the mystery of Clara, Grisini, and the deadly stone known as the fire opal.

Full of black magic, mind possession, and creepy marionettes, Splendors and Glooms is plenty dark to satisfy readers who ate up A Tale Dark and Grimm and A Series of Unfortunate Events. ( )
  rhowens | Nov 26, 2019 |
3.5 I enjoyed this story and the characters. I feel like it will appeal to fans of Dickens. It is a longer book and the pacing is slow and steady. Longer review to come. ( )
  Robinsonstef | Jul 10, 2019 |
This was ~almost~ a perfect book. The conclusion was just a little anti-climactic given the brilliance of the rest of the book, but that's my only negative comment.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are apprentices to Grisini, a master puppetteer in 19th century London. He is a harsh man, and took in the two orphans more because he could use them than because they needed help. Grisini is called upon to give a show at the home of the wealthy Wintermute's, whose sole living daughter, Clara, saw the puppets in the park one day and has wanted nothing else since. Clara tries to befriend Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, but when all is done, she is cornered by Grisini, who turns out not merely to be a bad man, but a truly wicked one, with a bit of witchcraft in him.
This is only the first few chapters of the book, but I won't say more, lest I give away things that are better discovered on reading the book. The cast of characters is fairly small, and each one well developed. Though a little longer than the average YA novel, there is nothing wasted. Everything is part of the overall tale. There are no pointless subplots.
Deliciously creepy and Neil Gaiman-esque. ( )
  fingerpost | Apr 26, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laura Amy Schlitzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ibatoulline, BagramCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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.
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