Title: The Carver
Author: Jacob Devlin
Series: (Order of the Bell #1)
Pub. Date: July 19th, 2016
Source: Blaze Publishing
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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.
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.
The Carver was difficult to put down. I feel in love with the world and premise quickly, and the characters definitely grew on me. I was intrigued from the start and my attention was only pulled deeper the more I read. I easily got lost in the world, and even though the characters are ones we already know of (Peter Pan, Alice (Wonderland), Hansel and Gretel, and Pinocchio) they still felt realistic and developed.
The writing is mysterious and adventurous, because even when you think they’ve finally won, something new comes along to disrupt everything. This book is everything that went wrong in the Old World. The author isn’t afraid of a little darkness, and that shows through corrupt characters and greed and power. This is a book where power is not your friend, not unless you want to lose yourself. Full of grief and geed and power, this book takes you on an epic adventure of redemption and hope. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book!
What was most enjoyable about this book, for me, was how the author didn’t give us a tale of love and hope and light, fluffy fairy tale plots. The author gave us hope, even when you couldn’t see the light through the darkness anymore. Devlin turned these light, happy fairy tales dark and dangerous in a matter of minutes, and did so brilliantly. This book, while dark, does still have key fairy tale aspects, however: hope, adventure, friendship, family, love. Some kids wanted to leave the Old World, they wanted to grow up, so they were able to leave after a mission and they grew up and had kids. Now someone is hunting each of them down and bringing them back home, so their kids are left to save them. These kids have hope of finding them, they take an adventure of sorts searching for them, friendship goes through tough trials but is stronger in the end, family is proven to be important, and love is what kept them all together without too many break downs. The author brilliantly wove darkness into a happy tale, and still portrayed such deep, important messages. That, my friends, makes for a brilliant story.
As great as the writing and world-building is, and as much as I loved the characters, I did find that some voices blended together. It was hardly noticeable and didn’t cause any problems, but it got confusing a time or two. Other than that, though, I loved the characters and their development!
Overall, The Carver is an epic tale of turning to the dark side and wanting redemption after years of greed and power and horror. Even when you think all is saved, you get punched in the face. This is a book I definitely recommend!