My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Historical Fantasy
Purchase: Book Depository
This review contains no spoilers.
For all its magical elements, Splendors and Glooms paints a very realistic picture of turn-of-the-century London, England. If the magic and wizardry were taken out then there would be nothing left but a well researched historical novel about the differences between the poor and the rich – not unlike a novel by Charles Dickens. It read like a classic fairytale, and reminded me a lot of another book I’ve read recently, The Kingdom of Little Wounds.
Splendors and Glooms is a story about a young girl who gets turned into a doll by the evil Grinisi, which for many people would be a terrible thing. However, because she is a weathly young lady with a structured like (and a rather insane mother) Clara is almost delighted by the freedom afford to a doll, for the first time in her life she can dance, even if she isn’t in control of what she’s doing. However Grisini’s young helpers know theres something not normal about the new doll and set about trying to rescue Clara.
It almost reminds me of the Nutcracker, a very twisted version anyway. Its a story about a young person, an evil person, and an innocent turned into a doll. Unlike in The Nutcracker there’s no love story, (okay, maybe a tiny crush), but certainly no age-inappropriate marriage. Overall I really enjoyed it, there were times when it was a little slow, but for the most part I really got into the storyline. It was almost one of those books that I really liked, but I’m not entirely sure why.
Who I Recommend it For: I think fans of classic books will enjoy this, because it is reminiscent of stories by ETA Hoffman, The Brothers Grimm, or Charles Dickens. It rings with the gritty realism of that time, showing the huge gap between rich and poor while combining it with elements of magic.