Mara's Reviews > Leonardo's Shadow: Or, My Astonishing Life as Leonardo Da Vinci's Servant

Leonardo's Shadow by Christopher Peter Grey
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's review
Jan 27, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in May, 2010 , read count: 1

This isn't just a story about a boy trying to discover his identity - though a good portion of the book is spent on that. This book takes place during the time that Leonardo was painting the Last Supper, so that comes into play a lot as well - as does a few of Leonardo's inventions. It's a fun read for people who are familiar with Leonardo's work and the history surrounding this particular time in history.

That said, time to focus on the negative. I don't particularly like stories that are written in the present tense. It gives books waaaay too much of a movie feel, which detracts from the general splendor of the written word. This book is also written in first person, and I am fond of first person narratives. But there's something in Christopher Grey's first person style that I don't like, and it's not just the fact that it's coupled with present tense. He uses really short phrases a lot, giving the story a very choppy, moment-by-moment feel - again, movie-ish. It really takes away from the story.

And the story is good! It's an interesting read - if not a little too accurate in the way life was in 1497 Milan, and if one can get over some of the sexual hints. There is nothing explicit and nothing ever happens, but it's an element thrown in that gets a little tiring. Throw those things aside and the general writing style, and it's a good read.

Until you get to the end. Let it be known that there are a lot of plotlines running through this story, and they all get tied up. But some of the plotlines - namely, Giocomo's past and the mysterious items he is found being in possession of when Leonardo takes him in - are tied up loosely and leave the Reader disappointed. This isn't a book waiting for a sequel, so the loose-tying of the ends isn't a good element. It just leaves much to be desired.

I found Leonardo's Shadow interesting, but I don't think a copy will ever rest within my library as a permanent resident.

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