Thursday, October 05, 2017

Dollmaker of Krakow

Dollmaker of Krakow. R.M. Romero. 2017. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: There once was a little doll named Karolina, who lived in a country far from the human world. The Land of the Dolls was a large kingdom that stretched countless miles in any direction one could think of.

Premise/plot: The Dollmaker of Krakow is historical fantasy set during the Second World War. Cyryl Brzezick is a dollmaker living in Krakow; one day he's carving a wooden doll from a memory. Without knowing how or why, he discovers he's called a soul into the body of the doll--that soul is Karolina. She is a living doll. And the two become close friends. Though he worries that not everyone will understand and accept his magic. He urges her to stay quiet when others are about. And even before the Nazi soldiers come storming into Poland, into Krakow, into their lives, not every face is a friendly face.

The dollmaker and Karolina become extremely close with a Jewish man (Jozef Trzmiel) and his daughter (Rena). There will come a time when this friendship is tested and proved. Will Karolina and the Dollmaker find the courage and strength to stand up to EVIL?!

My thoughts: This fantasy novel is compelling. (I read it at the same time I was reading Irena's Children--a nonfiction biography.) Perhaps I found the nonfiction biography even more compelling and engaging than this fantasy novel. But that's not to say there isn't a place for historical fantasy. This book involved two wars: the war in the human world involving the Nazis and the war in the Land of Dolls involving the invading RATS. I would have much rather the focus been on the human world. The rat segments just didn't captivate me. That being said, it's not my place to review what "should have been" or what "could have been." Did I like it--yes or no? I definitely liked it. Was it sad? YES.

Favorite quotes:
"When a human cries out for a doll, there is always a reason. They need you and you may find that they have what you need too."
The depth of the look that passed between the Dollmaker and Karolina could not be conveyed in a single word; it was too full of every story and victory and long night they had shared with each other. It was too full of love. And so the Dollmaker chose not one word but two. "Live well," he told her.
Magic is an odd thing. It never takes the form you'd expect.
You can destroy a person, Karolina, but destroying their story is far more difficult. No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.
Dolls were like children; they could not hide their joy.
An entire lifetime spent without believing anything marvelous would be gloomy and dull.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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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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  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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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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