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Aurelia and the Library of the Soul Paperback – April 15, 2016
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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The Panades, known as the best bakers in the land, lead a happy life in the town of Candleborough. Their one sorrow is that they are unable to bear children, because every night the evil spirit Promulgus Morphus says a spell down the Panade’s chimney. Then one night, a snowstorm keeps Promulgus from leaving his cave, and soon Aurelia Panade is born, full of spirit and happiness.
This angers Promulgus, and he tries even harder to bring harm to Candleborough. For years, his attempts are fruitless, but he finally succeeds, leaving Aurelia, now a teen, with a horrific loss. As she tries to deal with her sorrows, Aurelia gets pulled into a magical adventure of good vs. evil in the Library of the Soul, the land between sleep and awake. Will Aurelia at last triumph over evil and even Promulgus himself? Will she find love even when it seems all hope is lost?
Aurelia and the Library of the Soul blends magic and otherworldly adventure into a fun, fast-paced story. I like how the short chapters are interspersed with songs and chants. Dolcimascolo’s detailed descriptions paint vivid pictures of the characters and the fantastical world they inhabit. I found the plot to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster: Aurelia experiences deep sorrow one minute, love and joy the next. The book has a positive lesson about the value of perseverance, and I would recommend it to readers, especially girls ages 7-12 who love fantasy.
Reviewed by a LitPick student book reviewer Age 13
The story follows a friendship between Aurelia Panade, a teenaged heroine who must bravely recover an important legacy fate cruelly robs her of, and Maudline. Maudline is raised by Promulgus, the village villain. He’s bad guy unlike any this reader has encountered in print (his pernicious breath aids him in casting hexes!). His antics make one smile in wonderment rather than grimace in revulsion.
Suspenseful, well-told and heartwarming, Aurelia and the Library of the Soul is set in a timeless village that feels Eastern European (a tribe of gypsies comes and goes). Replete with an intricate plot that is resolved in a surprising, satisfying ending, it is written in pitch-perfect prose that dazzles and never distances. Integral to this “ballet in words” is the clever poetry that springs naturally from the prose. Indeed, the two distinct registers (viz., the gentle voice of the narrator versus the sometimes insistent metered and rhymed verse) create excitement.
The text is in a pas de deux with seven exquisite, collectible color plates by the extraordinary illustrator Rob Rice. This book would make a nice gift, especially for girls ages 9-14, or for anyone who still feels young but isn't.
Great Illustrations! The Incantations and Poetry are thought provoking, giving hints of a way to solve a problem.
I could not put this book down, and will be reading it again.