The Holy Terror

A possible retreat from goodreads ... though I'm tempted to yell "get off my lawn" at this site's tumblresque-ness. Yes, that's totally a word.

The Spindlers - Lauren Oliver,  Iacopo Bruno I absolutely loved Liesl and Po, which was also written by Oliver and is middle grade fantasy as well. It was one of my favorite books from last year and one I highly recommend. I unfortunately can't say the same about "The Spindlers." There were some highly quotable passages from this book that I truly loved, but I just didn't find that level of emotion sustained throughout. It felt like Oliver was trying to create the sort of charming creepiness that authors like Roald Dahl are known for, but she ultimately failed. I wasn't attached to the characters, I particularly hated the rat sidekick, the journey through Below was tedious, and almost every single creature Liza encountered was either mean, awful, or a combination of the two. The magic in this world is spiteful and particularly unfair, (as Liza would say, ad nauseam,) and the message this tale is trying to tell ends up feeling muddled and rushed in the end.Liza spends the majority of the book whining, being annoyed and disgusted by her new rat "friend," and running away from things that are trying to kill her, all in a quest to save her brother's soul from spider monsters called spindlers. I have a really close relationship with my younger brother, and so I thought that Liza's pursuit to save her brother from the spindlers would tug at my heartstrings, but that didn't happen. Oliver attempts to blend stories about people in the real world, such as Liza's parents, her babysitter, and her neighbor, and fold them into a teachable lesson for Liza, but it all falls flat. I don't think Liza really understood what the Below was trying to explain to her and I just ended up pitying her instead of sympathizing. Liza apparently has no friends except for the babysitter who is away at college, her parents think she's a liar whose mind is stuck in a fantasyland, and her brother doesn't even appreciate the fact that she saved his soul from the spindlers. It's all kind of sad and depressing and not the type of middle grade book I would enjoy as a kid or as an adult. It just wasn't any fun.I was really sad when I got to the halfway point of this book and realized I wasn't enjoying any of it because Liesl and Po was a wonderful story. When I think of that book and The Spindlers they seem like they were written by completely different authors, and I hope if Oliver tries her hand at middle grade again she manages to capture the melancholic magic of Liesl and Po instead of just the depressing melancholy of The Spindlers. I'll gladly give her another chance, but it'll probably be the last one.A copy of this book was provided by HarperCollins Children, through Edelweiss

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