Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Holiday-Week Pick

Are you and the kinder driving each other crazy this break? In the spirit of détente, I offer up a Pick of the Week that my own kid and I agree on: 

This novel by Marie Rutkowski is the first in a trilogy that Ada devoured in short order. I've only made it through the first two, but find the inaugural book to be a lot more compelling (for the record, Ada disagrees). As it turns out, Ada and I not only agree that we really like this book, we agree on the reason why. 

"It's weird," my daughter enthuses. "I mean, how many people have a metal spider?" (This is a reference to the protagonist, Petra's, pet, made by her magic-wielding metalsmith of a father, along with a whole metal menagerie.) "Or can steal eyeballs?" (I'll refrain from elaborating here, in the interest of not spoiling the rest of the plot). "And I love that it happens in a real time" (the Middle Ages), "in a real place" (Bohemia, now the Czech Republic), "and that fake stuff is mixed up with the real stuff." To which I can only respond, "Exactly." 

It's this mingling of the historic and the fantastical that makes the book a success—and Petra's spider, Astrophil, affectionate despite his cold exterior, and also a voracious reader, is only one small part of the equation. The world that Rutkoski has created holds true even though we know that it is punctuated with non-realities. In fact, it is all of its charm. 

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