Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by L.L. Samson

Published by: Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan
Release date: May 8th, 2012
Number of Pages: 140
How I got this book: ARC from Zondervan
My rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

"A hidden attic. A classic story. A very unexpected twist. Twin twelve-year-old bookworms Ophelia and Linus Easterday discover a hidden attic that once belonged to a mad scientist. While relaxing in the attic and enjoying her latest book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ophelia dozes off, and within moments finds herself facing a fully alive and completely bewildered Quasimodo. Ophelia and Linus team up with a clever neighbor, a hippy priest, and a college custodian, learning Quasimodo's story while searching for some way to get him back home-if he can survive long enough in the modern world."


First, thank you to Zondervan for the opportunity to read and review this book! This is a middle grade fantasy novel and the first of a new series. The 2 main characters, twins Linus and Ophelia live with their elderly aunt and uncle who own an antique bookshop. They discover a hidden attic, where at certain times, on certain days they can bring book characters into the real world through a magic circle on the attic floor. But he only has 60 hours in the real world and he must go back to where he came from through the magic circle or he will face a painful demise. This first adventure is about Quasimodo. Linus and Ophelia, and the new student in town, Walter, befriend Quasi and discover that there is much more to Quasi than his hunchback.

This was a really cute fantasy story with a wonderful idea behind it. However, it did have some flaws in it that bothered me as well. First, certain things are not well explained. For example, the story says that Ophelia must read and finish Quasi's book by the time he goes back to the circle but it doesn't explain why. It also says that whatever page of the book is open in the circle when he goes back is what point in time he will return...and Ophelia just randomly tosses the book in at the last moment...I found this frustrating. We also never find out if anything that Linus and Ophelia did for Quasi in the Real World affected him when he returned. I would have liked it if the author did some kind of epilogue or something.

I did like how the narrator used "fancy" words and then explained what they meant. He also threw in bits of advice on how to write a story, such as what a "hook" is. I thought that was a unique idea for the middle grade set.

Overall, I really like the idea of the series (at the end, it hints that the next book will be about Moby Dick). I was just a little disappointed in the execution of the plot.


Anonymous said...

Wow...nice review! and it seems like such a cute book! I admire you for venturing back into the middle-grade books zone. I should try that sometime ^_^ Anyhow, great review!

Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

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