Book: The Carver (Order of the Bell 1) by Jacob Devlin
Release Date: July 19th 2016
Tags: Fantasy / Young Adult / Fairytales / Retellings /
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Blaze Publishing, LLC for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .
THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .
THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .
Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.
With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
I will admit that when I saw these books of The Order of the Bell I did not look too closely at the synopsis. Those stunning covers lulled me right in. For that reason I got something I wasn’t entirely expecting. A fairytale continuation in the spirit of Once Upon a Time.
And you know what, I quite enjoyed the story. There are a lot of interesting twists and turns that I wasn’t expected. There were no huge surprises but I never quite knew where we are going. I don’t know where the sequel is going to go either. But I am very curious to find out. There is a lot left to discover in the world itself and in the plot.
We start the story with Enzo, his father and their neighbor Pietro. Both the adults wives have disappeared along with Pietro’s son and it has left quite a gap in all three their lives. When someone takes Enzo’s father he is taken on a quest to find his loved ones that takes him into things he never thought would be real. Peter Pan, Pinochio, Alice and other characters that appear in fairytales (or classics in some cases).
Despite really enjoying the story in itself, the whole book could not quite grab me in the way that I would have liked. One of the big reasons for that was the way this book was written. The chapters were short and we followed various characters, going back between past, present and between the two worlds. The constant back and forth did not do the story any good. I think it would have been better to really pick out 2,3 characters that could each tell the parts of the story that needed to be told.
The above really messed with the characterization for me too. There just wasn’t enough room to delve into the characters, to get to really know them and become familiar with them. It was a shame because with a bit more deepening into the characters it could have really given this story more of an emotional backbone. As of right now, it barely skims the surface. I also think some of the dialogue needs a bit of work as it felt forced and to typical in places.
‘Shall we clash fingers, my friend?’
Having said that, there were also quite some funny moments. Side characters like Liam I warmed up to with some witty banter from his side. And as far as romance goes, there is barely any here. I thought for a minute at the start there was going to be a romance between two characters (and there probably will be), but it did not happen in this book and I was quite pleased with that. With everything happening there was no room for it and that made it feel realistic. It is going to take a bit of a slower turn and that I liked.