Friday, January 11, 2013

The Spindlers

Liza woke up one morning and discovered that her brother Patrick was no longer himself. He looked the same, had the same memories, and to everyone else seems the same, but something is definitely off with him. Liza is the only one who realizes the Spindlers have taken his soul and put one of their own in his place. To save Patrick's soul, Liza takes a broom (because Spindlers are afraid of them) and goes Below, a world beyond her own full of magical creatures, talking rats, glow worms that light her way, and all manner of dangers. She must face the evil Spindlers with her own intelligence and wit as her only weapons. Will she be able to escape alive and save her brother?

The Spindlers is a fun adventure complete with danger, darkness, and wonder. I adore Below, the underground world Lauren Oliver has created. It's just the right ratio of beautiful, strange, and scary. My favorite parts are the troglod market, the nocturni, and the lumpen. The troglod market links Below with the regular world. The troglods, little gnome-like creatures, steal things from humans and sell them in their market in exchange for random pieces of paper whose value is determined by the color. This reminds me of The Borrowers and pokes a little bit of fun at the money we put so much value on, which is just really bits of colored paper. The nocturni are my favorite part of the book. They are creatures that are a cross between hummingbirds and butterflies made of darkness and air. They bring dreams to only one person forever and are rumored to bring souls to the afterlife. These benevolent creatures are integral to the story, fascinating, and, as far as I know, an original creation. The lumpen are glowworms that light the way in the Below, but are very sensitive creatures that won't illuminate if annoyed or insulted. These are my favorite parts of the world, but the entirety of it is very visual and vibrant.

Liza is pretty awesome. Her adventurous spirit is infectious and makes me excited to see where she will venture and how she will get out of danger. Her unwavering loyalty is touching and you can really see how much she cares for her brother, even though they fight and annoy each other all the time. She even cares a lot for her family even though they want her to stop bothering them with her "imagination" and generally leave her alone. I loved Liza leading me through her adventures and found her very memorable, intelligent, and inspiring. I liked the thoughtful and determined way she got through every obstacle in her way to get to her brother.

I greatly enjoyed Lauren Oliver's The Spindlers. I found Liesl and Po to be much better because it dealt with real life, significant issues like death, but The Spindlers is still a great adventure story with twists, turns, and a delightful new world.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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