Very cute! I liked that Lauren Oliver wasn't afraid to throw her middle-grade characters in a dark and gloomy setting. She still kept the book from slVery cute! I liked that Lauren Oliver wasn't afraid to throw her middle-grade characters in a dark and gloomy setting. She still kept the book from slipping over into depressing, because the characters themselves were full of hope, light and happiness. When the story opens, Liesl has spent more than a year of her young life imprisoned in the attic bedroom of her stepmother's house with little nourishment and nothing to entertain herself. But she isn't bitter or dull -- she doesn't whine about her situation, just makes the best of it. To her, after all, it's normal life. The action starts almost immediately, with Po (a boy/girl ghost from the Other Side, where things like gender are fuzzier) and Bundle (a ghost dog/cat -- again, things are fuzzy on the Other Side) arriving in Liesl's room one night. Liesl's father has just died, so rather than being terrified of the ghostly apparitions, she tries to make friends with them to find out more about her dad. Po finds Liesl's father and learns that he wants his ashes to be brought to rest under the willow tree, in the house where Liesl lived when her mother was alive. Liesl and Po set out together on a mission to bring her father's ashes home. In the meantime, Will, an abused alchemist's assistant charged with carrying the most powerful magic in the world to the frighteningly powerful Lady Premiere, runs into the girl and her ghosts, and all hell breaks loose... The plot twists in this are a little predictable, but I think that made the book all the more fun -- you know what's about to happen; you dread it; but then it happens anyway and everything takes a turn for the worse. Most of the adult villains are cliche, but it's middle-grade, so I think that's alright! I enjoyed the fun, fast-paced storyline, I loved all four of the main characters, and the ending resolution felt just perfect. I would definitely recommend this to younger readers, or anyone who needs a light-hearted pick-me-up read!...more
Having 8 different points-of-view, all told in various formats (to name a few: letters, a memoir, a play, and an encyclopedia) is pretty ambitious. EsHaving 8 different points-of-view, all told in various formats (to name a few: letters, a memoir, a play, and an encyclopedia) is pretty ambitious. Especially given the tons of first-person-present-tense books flooding the teen market right now (which is my favorite tense to write in too, don't get me wrong). But Catherine Murdock makes it WORK here.
I loved her first fairy-tale/fantasy novel, Princess Ben (set in the same world as Wisdom's Kiss, but in a different time period), but I enjoyed Wisdom's Kiss even more. With so many POVs going on, the characters all get voices of their own. You sympathize with all three members of the love triangle, another feat that's hard to pull off when there's heartbreak involved (and that's all I'm saying, don't want to spoil you!).
But best of all... it's HILARIOUS. This reminds me of Princess Bride or Terry Pratchett, with the crazy, goofy place-names, quirky country traditions and a little fun magic to top it all off. I also love that Catherine wasn't afraid to use big words in a book for teens. Yes, I might've stumbled across a few of those if I read this book at age 12, but it wouldn't have stopped me reading the book. It's one of those books you'd reread again 10 years later, and laugh even harder when you spot all the snark you missed the first time around. I think it would be fun to read this aloud to younger kids, too. There's a lot of room for making fun of the various voices (especially the narcissistic swordsman, Felis el Gato. How can you not love a book with a narrating character whose name is that ridiculous?!).