Friday, May 13, 2016

The Toymaker's Apprentice

The Toymaker's Apprentice. Sherri L. Smith. 2015. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

I loved, loved, loved The Toymaker's Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith. It is a great example of how wonderfully satisfying children's fantasy can really be. It is also a retelling of The Nutcracker told in alternating points of view.

Readers first meet Stefan Drosselmeyer, the hero, shortly after his mother's funeral. He is an apprentice to his father, who is a toymaker, but he wants more from life. An unexpected visit from his uncle, Christian Drosselmeyer, gives him an opportunity for just that but it won't be without risks. To be in Christian's company is almost to invite disaster. For Christian has some mighty enemies, and, his enemies aren't all human either.

Ernst is our second narrator, and, he's a mouse. In his opening chapter, I believe, he is recruited to be the tutor for the heir to the mouse kingdom of Boldavia. The heir hasn't been born yet when Ernst arrives. And when the heir is born, Ernst is upset or troubled. The heir--due to the (evil) Queen's dabbling in dark magic HAS SEVEN HEADS. Why is the Queen evil? Well, she's out to rule the world. (Perhaps the Brain would understand and applaud her ambition?) And she's out to destroy humans. She's cursed the Princess of Boldavia. And she'll curse anyone who stands in her way...

Christian is out to find a cure for the princess, and he's enlisted Stefan's help. But before this story ends, Stefan will need a cure of his own....

I loved this one start to finish. I did. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I love the world-building. I love the atmospheric setting and tone. I love the writing, the dual narrators. I love the characters and their relationships. It was a perfect read for me.
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

danfe 2:32 PM  

Excelent article.
danfe online

Brenda 7:09 PM  

Happy to hear you enjoyed The Toymakers Apprentice, I've been meaning to read this one.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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