Adventure · Fantasy · YA

The Carver (Order of the Bell #1) by Jacob Devlin

This book was so wonderful I can’t even begin to describe it. A story that takes place in the present and the past with fairytale character that the reader is very familiar with but with a few twists to the story.

Crescenzo is the son of toy maker and craver. The life in the suburb of Virginia is the only place he has ever known and where his mother and best friend disappeared without a trace. Enzo never believed that his father’s works were anything special until the man himself goes missing. Together with this childish adult of a neighbour, Pietro, whose family also went missing, they set off on an adventure to bring together the counterparts of the figurines left by Enzo’s father and hopefully bring them home, safe and sound.

It has to put this book down. I completely fell into the story and its characters even though I didn’t like the main character so much in the beginning. But I will get to that in a bit.
The story-line is well thought and developed even though I did get a bit lost at times with all the information that was provided. There are four different timelines in the novel: the recent past, the distant past of the fairy tale world also called the Old World and the present of both worlds. The present shows that is happening in both worlds simultaneously while the recent and distant past of the Old World reveal and explain the events that lead to the darkness that the fairytale world is drowning in and the disappearances of the families of Enzo and Pietro. In my opinion, I thought to the book was a bit too “crowded” at times, which made it a bit hard to keep up with. Luckily the characters made it a bit easier to follow and, in addition, Devlin didn’t leave loose ends and the plot is very much engaging. I did find similarities to the TV series Once Upon a Time but the characters are unique and the concept is very fresh.

The characters in this novel are quite a lot: from Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Mulan, Alice from Wonderland, Hansel and Gretel, Prince Charming to Captain Hook, the Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Quasimodo, the list goes on and on. However, Devlin did an amazing job in going in-depth into these characters and they all seemed very real to me.

What I really enjoyed about this novel, not counting with settings and characters, was how the author presented this magical world. Much like in the real world, the thirst for power and corruption lead the fairy tale world into dark times. At the same time, the author shows that hope can shine even in the darkest places and that everyone has the power of forgiveness. These aren’t the typical loving and happy fairytales: some of the characters decided to leave the Old World and after years of being “human” with homes and families, someone is determined to destroy that peace by kidnapping the adults and leaving their children to go through the trials that searching for their parents includes. However, the reader soon learns that friendship is a powerful bond and tool and that love for the family can overcome even the strongest of foes.

Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Blaze Publishing and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.

4 Stars

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