My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reviewed on 06/24/2012
In this review I’ll do something I never did before; I’ll do two reviews of the same book. Actually, is one review but divided in two levels, or whatever you want to make of it.
Realistic /Normal Plot - On a realistic/ normal level, we have a plot about a girl that is half white and half black living in a time when black people were treated very poorly, to say the least. So her mother hided her in a hotel in the middle of nowhere and changed her name, cose in that time, your name would tell who you were. I live in Brazil and we don’t have things like this name stuff, but in the past, there were things as black name, Jew name, and etc. Calie is very sick and needs to leave or else her dust pneumonia (which I didn’t even knew existed) would kill her. But her mother won’t let her go and insist they must stay so her father, Callie’s father, can find them when he comes back to them. This was bad, but since like things tend to get even worse when you think it’s already terrible, a dust storm appears and her mother disappears leaving her all alone. Now she has to find a way to find her mother and her dad.
Fantasy Plot - On a fantasy level, we have a plot about a girl that is half human and half fairy that is hunted by her own people and has no idea what she really is. So, her mother hides her in the middle of nowhere changing her name and keeping her out of the fairy radar (both seelie and unseelie). Calie wants to leave and her health is in jeopardy, but her mother wants to stay and wait for Calie ‘s dad to come home. Calie is growing up and her magic is getting hard to hide until a day when an unnatural dust storm appears from nowhere and takes Calie’s mother away. Now she is alone and has to find out what happened to her mother and her dad, who she doesn’t see in years.
I like this plot. Separately they are ok, but when you mix them together you get something really different and unique. The words I like to use and I rarely get to is: “This plot is something like you never saw before.” Well, you may have, but this is 100% first time for me.
Calie is a smart girl and is not our silly and naïve girl. She can take care of herself and deals with hard situations better than I could ever deal with. But, she is not street smart and she does some things really innocent and that makes us go all *Look how adorable she is*. Jack, I wasn’t really sure what to make of him, and I’m still not sure I do, but he is something solid in Calie’s path and he is very important to the story. I just wish there was something more in him. I wanted to see more of him, but then again, I always want more from the cute and courageous guys in the stories I read. Calie’s mom, I don’t hate her and that’s a lot to say about the parents in stories like that. She doesn’t appear much, but I get the sense that she loves Calie very much and wants to protect her. From what, I’m still not sure, but is something terrible. The fey, what to say about the fey? *scratch head* In simple words: Beautiful, terrifying and 100% sly and liars. If there’s one thing I’ve learn with the Iron Fey series is not to trust the fey and in this book that hasn’t change one bit. I can’t say they are evil, cose for me to say something like that they would have to have morals and feelings and be bound by human laws and way of thinking. They are not, so that doesn’t apply to them. All I can say is that they are dangerous, no matter how lovely and enchanted they seem on the outside.
The Writing- This is the first book I read from this author and I’m happy that I did, cose this is one great writing. How can I be sure? Well, in this book we have food recipes, clothes details, hairdo details and all sorts of things that usually made me sleepy and distracted, but in this case I liked. I really liked and I’m totally gonna prepare some of the recipes. LoL the way this author describes the fey, the scenery and all the magic is so natural that all the parts fit perfectly. First person narrative, just the way I like it. All story trough Calie’s eyes.
Considerations - Before I read this book I read a few reviews about it, and I must confess I was prepared to not like it very much and to find it a little boring and dull. I started to read it and, to my so, so happy surprise, I love it. I could spend hours discussing the repercussion of racism on that time and how people judged you by your color, your clothes, your name and the money you had. But that would stand till today since that hasn’t changed much with the years. I could talk about how terrible the dust was and how people died from hunger and dust pneumonia, which is a terrible way to die ( I did a little research about it while reading the book). I could also talk about murderers that hid themselves behind a badge to commit crimes against refugees that were trying to survive. Entire families murdered in the name of the law by criminals. Or, if I was in the mood for a happier subject, I could talk about music, jazz and how they are magical, in normal and fantasy worlds. Music can make you forget your pain and sorrows, can give you strength and comfort you when times get hard. Music can bring people together and also make you believe. Believe in a happier future, in a better time, in love, in happiness and in magic. In this story the magic is built on wishes and songs. I found this the best part of all this story, cose I believe this can be applied in our lives. Our wishes makes us move forward. Is because we wish and dream that we create wonderful things. It can take longer to come true, but we also make magic every day.
As I already said in some of my reviews, I don’t think there’s a perfect book and this has its flaws, but I do believe the good parts are brighter than the bad parts. I’m sure it has, but I can’t remember them. My mind was too busy with all the good parts to bother to remember the bad ones. I want the second book, really bad. And I think I have the perfect quote to finish this review:
"Oh, no. I'm seeing this through. How else am I gonna know how the story ends?"
This is exactly how I’m feeling right now. I need to know how the story ends.
If you are a visual person and would like to see some pics from that time to feel inside the story like I do, here are some pics I found about the dust bowl.
In the end of the book the author gives us a playlist that inspire her about this story. I’m not gonna give you all the playlist, I’m not that nice, but I’ll give you one song that I’m sure made me understand and like this book even more. The song is called "The Midnight Special" (traditional), sung by Huddie Ledbetter to John and Alan Lomax, 1934.
*An ARC was kindly provided by the publisher. But this in no way influenced my views on this book. This is my honest review.*