Talina in the Tower is the third book that I have reviewed by Michelle Lovric, after The Undrowned Child and The Mourning Emporium, and every time, I am blown away by how beautiful the covers are, even before I've turned to the first page. The attention to detail and atmospheric colours used in the artwork are outstanding - I'd be happy to have them on the wall !
But this book is even more special than the two preceding tomes because I am honoured to actually get a mention in the acknowledgements for helping the lovely Michelle with the French. My daughter Sophie's eyes came out on stalks when she saw my name in print !!
But on to the most important part - the story itself. Once again, we are instantly plunged into the magical, enchanting world of Venice with descriptions so evocative that you can actually feel the cold mist, taste the salty breeze and smell the mouldy damp and the faint whiff of fish as you read. The waterlogged city is once again under attack from strange other-wordly creatures. Now, I loved the combattant mermaids in the previous books with their ancient oaths picked up from the pirates and their permanent whiff of curry so I was sad to learn that they were out of town in this novel, otherwise occupied fighting distant battles, but I was soon won over by the new villains, the Ravageurs. Pretending to be French, these slobbering wolf/hyena crossbreeds speak with an atrocious French accent that kept bringing to mind Monty Python's The Holy Grail. Although the book is definitely aimed at children, it's a fabulous read for adults too and some of the wordplay would go straight over young readers' heads. For example, I laughed out loud at the wild witches who need years to calm their outrageous ways until they are "coven-ready", knowing that kids wouldn't even see the joke.
But children are central to the plot as, once again, the only person who can hope to save the ill-fated city is a child, albeit a very special not-quite-cat child with a high level of impudence and a few magic tricks up her sleeve. I would love to share Talina's ability to read two books simultaneously !
The cast of supporting characters is full of extravagant and unforgettable individuals too, including the lovable Venetian grannies and the long-repressed female Ravageurs, who give a lovely message to younger readers that you shouldn't listen to anyone who tells you you're worthless.
It's an action-packed, totally enchanting read for children and adults alike. I love the way Michelle gives a little "what is true and what isn't" summary at the end of the book so that you get a great insight into the real Venice, past and present.
There is currently a blog tour going on for Talina in the Tower so make sure you check out some of the blogs below to find out more about the book and Michelle Lovric's other work.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £9.99
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Orion Childrens; Hardback edition (2 Feb 2012)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 1444003380
- ISBN-13: 978-144400338
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