Before I get too immersed with this review, I want to ask one teeny tiny thing. Am I allowed to squeal? *looks around* Anyone objecting to that? No one? Ok, then. Please excuse me for a moment…
*squeals and jumps like the crazy fan girl she is*
Ahem! Enough of that – for now. Let’s get started, shall we?
Suitcase of Stars. A book full of cleverly hidden, humoristic jabs, of solving riddles, of providing a “bridge” – if you wish – between fairy tales and what we believe to be reality. In other words, a book that is quite typical of Pierdomenico Baccalario. It tells us the story of how Finley McPhee, a smart but academically uninterested boy living in a seemingly boring Scottish village – where nothing beyond the ordinary ever happens- meets and befriends Aiby Lily, the mysterious new girl in the village. Her and her father are the new owners to the Enchanted Emporium, a shop specializing in magical objects. But the Lilies are not the only newcomers to Applecross – danger seems to have followed them, a danger that is set to either destroy them, or make sure they don’t open their shop successfully. Will Finley and his new friend make it out of this mess alive? Or will Aiby’s secrets become enough of a burden to keep that from happening? Guess life in Applecross is about to become a whole less dull!
Reading this book proved to be an unforgettable experience. I’ve seen many stories of this genre, some with themes much more unique. And yet, Mr. Baccalario always manages to make me squirm in my seat with a desperate hunger for more! I should have known why that is by the 2nd book of his Ulysses Moore series, but I guess, when I’m excited about something, logic flees at the fastest pace possible. It took me almost half of this book to finally understand. Baccalario has a certain way to tell his stories. He starts out slow – that’s an understatement, scratch that and make it extremely slow – and keeps it that way till you reach the final third of the book or so. He makes you keep turning the pages with his light and funny storytelling, and then grabs your ear and tugs you to the finish line – where he proceeds to throw you off the cliff behind the treacherous bush labeled as “The End”, and leaves you hanging there. Meanwhile, he holds a stick with the promise for the next book tied to its end, dangling it in front of you to give you enough motivation in order to climb back up – though he’s likely to push you again, but, by that moment, you couldn’t care less, as long as he keeps “feeding you” with his amazing imagination and flow of words.
I am torn between cursing him for making yet another story that has me hooked and impatient and in a “oh-my-God-when-is-the-next-book-coming-out” state, and thanking him for making the time and obsession reading this actually caused so much worth it. Characters that are not always what they seem (
though I admit I had my suspicions about Meb ). Dialogues that always make sense and never bore us, no matter how much info one character dumps on another in some of them. A steady, solid plotline with no gaps and holes. And a writer who knows how to show and not just tell his story. Take all these, add the wonderful sceneries, legends and humoristic comebacks, along with Iacopo Bruno’s always helpful and cute illustrations, and you have a real page-turner that promises the best of times and adventures, should you decide to pick it up.
***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***