"THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York's subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .
"THE PRINCE looks like he's from another time entirely, or maybe he's just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .
"THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .
"Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father's carvings were anything more than "stupid toys." All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he's really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What's more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo's father left behind." (From provided synopsis)
I would like to thank Blaze Publishing for providing this book for review considerations. This in no way created an obligation to provide a review or the nature of any review given.
With Pietro's help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It's enough of a shock that they're actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
This was a fun read and an interesting derivation of classical fairy tales. I was surprised when I read the synopsis, because the title The Carver gave me the impression that it would be a horror novel. It is certainly not. If you have already read this far into the review, you probably already knew this.
The adventure and the environments were, respectively, engaging and rich. The settings range across realms and change which characters are being followed. The transitions are fairly smooth.
Much credit has to be given to thorough editing. Only a couple typos were noticed. This is always welcome as such errors can become a distraction.
While many of the characters had secrets, which unfold throughout the story, they often seemed to lack a depth that they could have otherwise easily possessed. They certainly were fun, but they story seems to have the plot bear the burden of driving the interest. Without a solid development, I found myself viewing the tragedies and betrayals from the same objective distance as reading a stranger's obituary. To be fair, lively character dynamics can also be seen as drama. Also, the characters are not without appeal. It just took a while to become sufficiently interested in their adventure.
This review has been particularly difficult to write because I genuinely like it, but there are aspects that leave it wanting. Defining exactly what that is challenging. I can only think of the following analogy: It was like a baby bird taking its first plunge from the nest. It beats its wings furiously, but lacked coordination. Half way through the fall it gained a sense of rhythm and began to fly. I breathed a sigh of relief as it narrowly escaped the approaching ground. I believe in this bird! Its first flight may have been rocky, but I anticipate its future success. This is why I am looking forward to the release of the sequel The Ivory Queen on January 10, 2017.
I would recommend this fantasy for younger readers.
About the author (from author's page)
When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake.
Now he writes not-so-autobiographical novels about everything from small-town acoustic guitar heroes to the son of Pinocchio and his journey through a big world. He is the author of The Carver, a YA fantasy novel published by Blaze Publishing, LLC.
Be sure to browse the site for information about his books and extra goodies related to the worlds he’s created! His characters are known to pop in and play on his blog quite frequently, and his muse sometimes hangs out here and likes to give away presents. Happy reading!
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.