Thursday, February 27, 2014

ARC Book Review: The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: The Cracks in the Kingdom
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Rating: 5/5

Cover Impressions: 
The digital image really doesn't do this one justice.  In the physical copy, the colors are so vibrant and the raindrops and lightning keep your eye moving across the image.  It fits beautifully with the first cover in this series, but I am still wishing for the parking meter to be featured on a cover - here's hoping for #3!

The Gist:
Madeleine and Elliot's communications through a mysterious crack between their worlds have been fun and exciting, but now their notes must take on more purpose.  The royal family is missing, presumably transported to The World and Madeleine and Elliot have been charged not only with finding them, but with determining the science governing the cracks so that they can bring the family home.  As if that weren't enough, Elliot must also travel Cello with the Royal Youth Alliance and endure tours and parties while trying to discover where in The World to start looking for the missing royals. 


I shouldn't like this book. The characters are strange and some are completely unrelatable, there are long scientific diatribes that make little sense and the "rules" of the fantasy kingdom are near impossible to discern. I shouldn't like this book, but I do. In fact, I love it.

It has a strange charm that drew me in and I ended up closing the book wishing for just one more chapter.  Please, Ms. Moriarty, Just. One. More. Chapter.

The writing in this series is beautiful and unique.  All of the characters have a remarkable strangeness about them that draws the reader in.  At first, I balked against the strangeness but, once I had accepted it, I was able to see the beauty in each character and the wonderful role that they played in the story.  Madeline continues to be a wonderful and whimsical character but, this time, without the morose obsession with an absent father that brought her down in the last novel.  Elliot is a brave and strong protagonist whose flaws keep him interesting.  There are a plethora of side characters who flesh out the story and provide some interesting color.  I particularly liked Samuel who was slowly revealed to have much more strength of character and determination than had ever been expected of him and the young prince, whose story in The World damn near broke my heart.

The worldbuilding in The Cracks in the Kingdom is like nothing that I have ever read before.  There are elements based on concepts of physics, but they are twisted in such a magnificent way that they become strange and wondrous.  The idea of color storms that turn the world upside down (sometimes literally!) is incredibly unique and allows for an element of excitement, beauty and danger. 

The plot unravels slowly, drawing the reader into its subtle nuances.  There were moments where I was frustrated by the lack of forward movement but, just as quickly, my patience was rewarded with a jaw dropping moment where I was completely surprised by a plot twist that I never saw coming.  The last quarter of the book is very fast paced.  It switches between several points of view which adds to the tension.  The ending itself allowed for the tying up of some loose ends while also leaving the reader breathless in anticipation of the next book in the series. Speaking of which, can we get on a release date for that? Anyone?

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up - Requires a patient reader
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Gunplay
Inappropriate Language: Piss
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking


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