Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee – review

By on January 28, 2014

ophelia and the marvelous boy

Publisher’s Description:

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this is a modern day fairy tale about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

What I expected:  I expected a type of fairy tale remake, a lighthearted story full of deeper meanings with two children who needed to work together toward a solution.

What I got:  I got what I expected and more.  This was definitely a fairy tale, but it was much more intense than our standard tales, because it was two tales in one, and they intensified each other.  It was frightening and full of despair.  Instead of having two main characters like most middle grade tales of this sort, Ophelia is most definitely the only main character.

What I liked:  I loved Ophelia’s attitude.  She was strong, knew her own mind, and refused to accept anything at face value.  She refused to let fear or adults distract her from her goals, either.  I adored the museum itself.  I could explore an eclectic place like that forever!

What I did not:  Sadly, I found the story to be bleak and depressing, and there was quite a bit of the plot that, to me, just did not fit logically within the parameters the author gave. Thus it felt a lot more surreal and Dali-esque than it needed to be.

Cover Talk:  I like the cover, it is attractive and very enticing to middle grade fans, but gives the idea of a much younger audience than I would think would enjoy this.

Recommendation:  If surreal and bleak middle grade stories are something that you enjoy, this is definitely for you.  Otherwise, it is a fair to middling middle grade story and will probably be quite enjoyable to many – just not me.

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