Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: The Vanishing Sculptor

In June 2009 I read "The Vanishing Sculptor" by Donita K. Paul. Here's my review.

Pros: The Vanishing Sculptor is a book with a mild fantasy adventure to it. There is a quest involving kidnapping and swordplay, dragons and wizards, speaking animals, and magic.

Cons: Maybe it would help if I had read the DragonKeeper Chronicles series first, but the story world seems relatively straightforward. Supposedly there is some allegory, but it is so highly veiled that you dont get more out of it than some faintly biblical-sounding proverbs. Maybe there is another book coming that will deepen the allegory? This story is definitely not finished in this volume.

The story starts VERY slowly, drags itself painfully across country, and then ends abruptly in the middle of a scene after a brief and bloody wizard battle. Very strange. The characters are not that endearing nor that interesting. The female characters are even worse: the mother (Lady Peg) of the main character is insane and/or senile and the main heroine (Tipper) is constantly described as "hysterical". Tipper is portrayed as useless, silly, and a worrywart. She fawns over the handsome Prince who can pull an invisible sword out of his jacket and quickly kill people without remorse. There are several different races of people in the book, but none are described very distinctly.

The author uses many invented words, which seem to have at least five syllables...this book would be very difficult to read out loud. The author also uses many SAT vocabulary words ... this is great for readers that want to build a thesaurus-like vocabulary, but young readers are more likely to find this tedious since they will be looking up a great many words in the dictionary. I found it very hard to get engaged in this story and had to force myself to read it all the way through.

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