Books Completed: 119
Completion Date: April 18, 2009
Publication Date: January 2007
Reason for Reading: Buddy read with Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot, New Author Challenge, Once Upon a Time Challenge.
Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall--the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway.Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler--and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever. Full of wildly clever plot twists, this extraordinary first novel establishes Ysabeau Wilce as a compelling new voice in teen fantasy.
1. What did you think of the book's playful language?
- In many ways, the language made the book. I mean, who can resist a book that has the subtitle: 'Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog'. I don't why this book is not better known because it just sounds fun from the title! Then, you read it, and it is a really good book. Wilce is funny, too. You will find yourself laughing at her ideas, which again ties into the playful language. Really, the short answer is that the playful language made the book fun.
2. How did you like Flora, the protaganist? What were, in your opinion, her greatest quality and her biggest flaw?
- For me, the mark of a good young adult book is one where the characters do not drive me crazy. I need a narrator with a bit of maturity, or it is just not going to work for me! Flora could easily be seen as the almost fourteen that she is, but at the same time, she told the story at such a level that it wasn't annoying. It was good that she could be herself, but still manage to tell a readable story. Her greatest quality would probably be that she was a genuinely nice person. If she wasn't nice, most of this book would not have happened. She goes out of her way for everyone, and while we might see her frustruation, she tends to hide it from the people around her. It made her a likeable character. This ties into her biggest flaw, though. She was so busy doing things for other people that she often forgot about herself. She was very lost in the grand scheme of things, and it caused her a lot of trouble. This is pretty common when you think about it, though. People are taught that to think of themselves is to be selfish, so in an attempt to not be selfish they try to help everyone and forget about helping themselves. This book mirrors societies problem with going from one extreme to another!
3. Were you satisfied with the ending? Why or why not?
- Evil question, Nymeth! I have to try and talk about the ending without talking about the ending, if that makes any sense! So, without giving anything away, I think there is a lot more than needs to be worked out. Hopefully it will be brought to some conclusions in the next book. If this was a standalone, it would have been a very... 'safe' ending, but not really satisfying. Since there is another book, though, it makes sense that the author would want to leave some things up in the air so that people will read the next book and see what happens.
4. Did you find the magick and other fantastic elements believable, or did it come across as far-fetched?
- One of the things that bothers me in fantasy is when they try to be too fantastic and the book doesn't work. There is such thing as too much imagination in books. In this book, though, I think everything worked out pretty well. The fantastic elements were creative and fun, but never really far-fetched. For the world that the author has created, things seem to work like they are supposed to. I have questions, though. There are a few things that happened during the book that were never really explained to my liking, so I am hoping she is just going to wait until the next book.
5. Who was your favourite secondary character? Why? Was there a character that you didn't like? Why not?
- I actually liked all the secondary characters. They were all written really well and in their own way added to the story. If I had to pick a favourite, I think it would actually be Flora's father. It is a bit unusual of an answer, but as I was thinking about this question he was the one that kept coming to mind. I think it was because he was such a flawed character that he sticks with you. He also adds some entertainment to the story with his adventures. I like how Flora gets the chance to see him before he fought in the war that changed him, too. That was a great scene and even though I wasn't entirely sure at the time it was necessary, in the end I thought it served a great purpose. I am not sure what I think about him at the end of the book. I think judgement should be withheld until I get a chance to read the next book in the series.
6. Do you recommend the book? Are you planning on reading the sequel?
- I really liked this book! I thought it was fun and very well-written for a debut novel. Unfortunately, the library doesn't have the sequel, so I will have to either buy it or see if the library will buy it for me. While this book was one of my favourite young adult reads for April. I cannot make up my mind whether I loved it or just really liked it. I guess I can wait and decide that when I write up my favourite reads of the year!