Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Honestly, I can't imagine a book with Lauren Oliver's name on the cover that I wouldn't pick up. She's just that amazing. So of course I had to read her latest novel, the middle grade fantasy tale, The Spindlers. Even though it's not a genre I read a lot of, I adored Oliver's first middle grade title, Liesl & Po and in fact even refer to it as one of my favourite books (because it is). In fact, I was so excited to read The Spindlers that I forced myself to hold onto it for about a month before I did– just because when I finished reading it I would be out of Oliver books to read until 2013. All that to say, I had high expectations.

And did The Spindlers meet my expectations?

Unfortunately, no.

That's not to say this story, about a young girl, Liza, who goes on an underground quest to find her brother's soul, which was stolen by the spindlers, wasn't a cute and fun read. But it wasn't blow-me-away-amazing either. It was okay. And with Oliver, I just expect more than that.

What The Spindlers is, is a great book for the intended audience, but it doesn't have the universal transcendence that Liesl & Po did. Some of my problems with the book included how slow the storytelling was, I put it down quite a few times during its 250 pages and I wasn't excited to go back. I wasn't riveted and pulled in a million directions and put back together. If anything, I was a bit confused. On her journey, Liza is accompanied by a rat of the same size she is. I was never sure if Liza shrunk when she went under her house, or if the rat grew. The setting itself wasn't that vivid, there was just a lot of mentions of dirt. Even the characters, which Oliver is usually so amazingly skilled at, just felt okay. I wasn't especially rooting for Liza, because I didn't feel like I really knew her.

The whole time I was reading The Spindlers, I couldn't help being reminded of Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which is a book I absolutely adore. But unlike Gaiman, Oliver's world isn't the creepy, her characters– even the bad ones– don't feel that scary. And even the plot doesn't feel original. There's a series of obstacles in the way of Liza finding her brother, but I never found myself breathless with anticipation on if she was going to succeed. I honestly didn't care that much, because everything was predictable and even the "big" twist didn't surprise me.

It's really hard to focus on the positive of The Spindlers because I was so incredibly disappointed by it. I love-love-love Lauren Oliver's writing, but this is a book that is cute. It's a book that's fun and charming, there's a talking rat I loved and some adults that don't understand their children. There are some unique and interesting creatures. Overall, The Spindlers is an okay middle-grade novel, and while I certainly haven't given up on Oliver, when it comes to her storytelling– okay is just so much less than what I expect.

Release Date: October 2nd 2012   Pages: 256  Format: ARC  Source: Publisher  
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada  Buy It: Book Depository | Amazon Canada Also By This Author: MG– Liesl & Po; YA– Before I Fall; Delirium (Delirium #1); Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I wonder what I'll think of this one. I flat-out disliked Delirium, but I liked Liesl & Po quite a lot. I was hoping that this book would be more along the lines of L&P. I guess the only way to find out is to read it myself, eh? Thanks for sharing your review!


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