This book captivated me immediately. The story starts with the protagonist, Veronika waking in the hospital, after she has recently attempted suicide with sleeping pills. She describes herself as a boring woman, who lives a life everyone thinks is perfect. “She had managed to appear utterly independent when she was, in fact, desperately in need of company. When she entered a room everyone would turn to look at her, but she almost always ended the night alone, in the convent, watching a TV that she hadn’t even bothered tohave properly tuned.” (67 Coelho) She sounded average, but the description of her subtle actions made me want to know more. I read on, almost frustrated at the protagonist, because I swore she had depth she refused to admit. When Veronika wakes in an asylum, she asks about her condition. The doctor informs her about irreversible damage on her heart from medication. Veronika is told she has about a week to live, and the book takes place over the course of this last week.
This books deals heavily with internal conflicts. The chapters are short, and a few of them seem private, almost voyeuristic. The story progresses as Veronika finds her passion for life. She starts speaking her mind more freely, and doing what she wants with no regrets. Expressing herself causes her to wonder about these other aspects of her self, and how long she’s been this way. Paulo Coelho captures the conflict of wanting to die, but not feeling quite ready, in a way that feels too real. I enjoyed this book, and it felt very appropriate for some of the life changes I’m seeing now.
There are other secondary characters in this book who also see some major changes. Mari a long term resident of Villete (the asylum) considers her reasons for being a resident. Veronika has an impact on every character she meets in the week. I anticipated the ending about half way through the story, but it was wrapped up so beautifully, it was still a gift. I’ve already read The Alchemist, and I have Brida to read next. Has anyone else enjoyed this title, or others from Coelho?
One word I learned while reading this title:
1.) Minstrels: “Like the ancient minstrels, he begant to write her poems, in the hope of one day marrying her.” (57 Coelho).
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines minstrel as “a musical entertainer in the middle ages.”....more
James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is a middle grade fantasy fiction novel written by Colm McElwain. The book follows the adventures of orphanJames Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is a middle grade fantasy fiction novel written by Colm McElwain. The book follows the adventures of orphan James Clyde and his best friends/adopted siblings Ben and Mary. Shortly after the beginning of the novel James Clyde finds out he was born in another world that he is set to become King of, a land called Orchestra. James must protect one of the diamonds of Orchestra from getting into the wrong hands. Through every part of the novel James has to face many obstacles to protect the diamond and to return it to where it belongs.
This book is written in third person omniscient point of view. The point of view helps to appeal to older readers through use of descriptive language. By writing the story through an all-seeing point of view readers are aware of what is going on at all times but still kept curious as to how the book will end. Although the main character is eleven years old, the adventures he faces keep readers of all ages intrigued. At times the point of view can be a bit confusing; especially in many of the action scenes when the reader is switched to different parts rather quickly. It can be hard to follow for some younger readers.
The setting was described so adequately as to place the reader directly in the book.
“He felt as though he had entered a beautiful painting and was enjoying at first hand the wondrous use of colour.”
The scene is entirely imaginable and the strange characters met throughout Orchestra are detailed very well, one might even be able to draw them out. There are a few portions of the story which lack in action but the reader can make it through the few lulls they will be pleasantly surprised with the ending of the novel.
The characters are relatable with their odd quirks. There is Mary the innocent but full of faith eight year old, Ben the protective but doubtful best friend and brother, and finally James who proves to be loyal and brave through the end of the book.
This book will appeal to readers of all ages who enjoy a good fantasy novel with an air of mystery and a good amount of quest themed action. This new series is one that should be picked up by Middle Grade and Young Adult readers who are looking for a brave character who overcomes their feelings of self-doubt. ...more