temporaryworlds (temporaryworlds) wrote in bookish,

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#46 The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley

At the age of seven, Molly is sent to be a scullery maid at Castle Dethemere. It’s here that she discovers that she has the ability to see visions, the most disturbing of which appear in a silver bowl. Here, Molly learns about a curse on the royal family she serves, but before she can do anything, the castle is attacked. Molly and her friend Tobias are able to escape with the young prince. Together they must find away to break the curse and keep the prince safe.

The Silver Bowl is one of this year’s nominees for the Maine Student Book Awards, and as a Maine librarian that works with kids, I like to keep up on these particular titles as they are often great sources for recommendations. Unfortunately, this will not be a book that I will be recommending to many children, The Silver Bowl may have its bright moments but there is ultimately too much holding it back.

Molly is a tough and capable heroine that’s easy to root for, and I really enjoyed how this book explored what the life of a servant in a castle might be like. The Silver Bowl is written in a brisk manner that makes it very easy to read, which is great for a book aimed at children. Unfortunately, I often felt that this quick pace often ends up being just as much as a hindrance than a help to my enjoyment. The book plunges ahead with such speed that important aspects, such as character development, can be left behind. The book doesn’t fully explain what motivates characters, so it often feels as if their actions only exist to move the plot forward. This results in a cast that can feel very shallow. This is the most obvious with the prince character. The book also features several large jumps forward in time, which ended up making the novel feel choppy. There were times when I felt that the dialog felt stilted and unnatural, and the climatic sequence at the end feels incredibly rushed as characters somehow find themselves transforming into warriors in order to defeat the enemy, despite the fact that they are otherwise not very experienced in combat.

I feel as if I’m being a little harsh with The Silver Bowl because there were a handful of moments when the book was really enjoyable, such as a touching scene between Molly and Tobias where Tobias speaks of his family. Unfortunately, due to the underdeveloped characters and at times rushed plot, the novel came off feeling almost half baked. If the author had just taken a little more time developing her story, the results would have been much more enjoyable. Granted, I am not in the target audience so perhaps a child won’t have the same issue I did. Still, I cannot recommend this books to others and will not be reading any of the other planned books in this series.

Rating: two and a half stars
Length: 320 pages
Source: Readfield Community Library
Other books I've read by this author: This is my first

Next I will be reviewing The Soulless Manga: Vol 1 by Gail Carriger

xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads
Tags: xxx author last name: r-z

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