Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Secondhand charm by Julie Berry

Evelyn has grown up in the small village of Maundley, a sleepy little village where she and her best friend Prissy have quietly competed for years to be the top student at the local school - but it is a friendly competition that has kept their friendship interesting rather than destroyed it.  When news comes that the King will be coming to their little village it is really big news, and when Evies talents as a healer help her save a member of his entourage it is only the start of her adventures.  At the village fair celebrating the Feast and the arrival of the King, Evie buys a Gypsy charm because she likes it, but she soon ends up with more than just one charm - which is just as well as she may need all the help she can get.  On the way to the University, her coach is robbed by a bandit who steals all they possess and forces Evie to make some very difficult choices, choices that will change her life forever.

It is difficult to review this book without giving away too many of the plot twists and turns that make it such a fun and enjoyable book, with one twist in particular shaking the whole story up and making it something altogether more interesting.  Evie is a fun character who is headstrong and determined, but also somewhat niave and trusting when maybe she shouldn't be - she wants to see the good in people, and having been raised in a quiet little village she really can be quite sheltered.  The cast built around her is interesting and has a depth that is not always seen in young adult novels, and while there are some stereotypes that may only be apparent to me because of how many books I read and the kinds of books that I read. 

This was an engaging read that found the right balance between not being too heavy, and not being too light.  The ending was satisfying and not as predictable as it could have been, and there was a sense of satisfaction with the slight tickle of a potential sequel.  While not an anti-hero, Evie was definitely not your typical hero either.

If you like this book then try:
  • Wolf speaker by Tamora Pierce
  • Dragons milk by Susan Fletcher
  • The Amaranth enchantment by Julie Berry
  • Dealing with dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
  • Jeremy Thatcher, dragon hatcher by Bruce Coville
  • Charmed life by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Ella enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Reviewed by Brilla

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