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Kandide and The Secret of the Mists: Book One: The Calabiyau Chronicles (Volume 1) Paperback – October 30, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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About the Author
Diana S. Zimmerman Like her novels, Diana’s role in the performing arts as well as the business world transcends the ordinary. She has been a performer, businesswoman, and writer since the age of eight when she invested all of her resources into a small magic trick. With a total capital outlay of 47 cents, Diana parlayed her investment into a spectacular 25-year career as “America’s Foremost Lady Magician.” She has invented magic illusions for David Copperfield and Lance Burton and is a highly respected lecturer, writer, and teacher in the world of magic. She also sponsors a young magicians’ group—an organization she founded with the help of the legendary actor Cary Grant at Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle. Her transition to the corporate world saw the creation of CMS Communications Intl., an award-winning Marketing Communications agency whose clients include many of the Fortune 500. Diana is CEO of CMS. She is a journalist and the author of 7 books, including the Kandide trilogy, Siegfried & Roy: Unique In All The World, Butterly In A Storm, Tactical Abyss, and Why Most Branding Fails. Diana is also an avid collector of faery art. Her collection is one of the largest in the world with pieces dating back to the 1700s.
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First, let me assure you that once you work your way past the daunting list of critical praises that make up a good portion of the front of this book, slog through the encyclopedic history of Kandide's World, and arrive at the map, there is a really good story here midst the ornate descriptions, so stick with it, or skip those parts entirely. The actual story is great and the illustrations will definitely please young readers.
This is a tale that lays bare the falseness of eternally striving to achieve perfect beauty. In true fairytale fashion, this story lays bare the flaw in our own eye. Zimmerman frankly deals with the perception of physical beauty as determining ones worth. Yes, she wraps it up in flowery prose, but she hangs it out there, nonetheless. Vanity, lust for power, the irrational but pervasive fear of people with crippling disabilities, and the callous shunting aside of those less-than-beautiful who live among us forms the core of this tale.
Kandide herself is a little pain in the backside, but don't quit on her. She is dealt a harsh lesson in compassion, learns to love, and sets out to right some wrongs. I enjoyed this tale enough to overlook the sometimes florid style of writing. It doesn't ruin the book, and some readers will like that style.I give this book 4 1/2 stars!
I'm sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book. Beyond our hateful hero, the book is rather simply written- it is not challenging or engaging overall. I found the characters mostly two-dimensional, and the narrator's voice was not particularly clever, insightful or interesting. I did enjoy the actual world of fairies that Ms. Zimmerman created, although it's not terribly different or creative compared with other fairy cultures that I've enjoyed from other authors.
I think it is important to see the hero go through a transformation, but the change in Kandide's character is so slow in coming that I finally gave up in disgust. Honestly, I would not want my daughter to read this book for fear that the narcissism already rampant in our culture would just be further touted.
For reference, I deeply enjoy fantasy literature, including the entire Harry Potter Series, almost anything by Neil Gaiman (but especially The Graveyard Book), The Night Circus, the Lord of the Rings, the Eragon series, Ender's Game and the Mithermages (book 1 is my favorite). I also enjoy thrillers and an occasional Stephen King novel. My favorite authors are clever with their descriptions and create 3-dimensional, imperfect characters. I prefer heroes with whom I can relate in their struggles.
Unfortunately, this book is not any of those things. Instead, it is a simplistic story of a narcissistic girl with whom I imagine very few can relate. I recommend skipping this one.
The part of the story that I enjoyed the most happens to be the overall moral. It teaches and shows that physical appearance is a shallow pool compared to what a person is on the inside, which matters most. It gives a great lesson for all who reads this book.
There are some parts where the plot lagged, but, for the most part the plot remained steady. The main characters were deeply defined and each had a rich person, which, is what I look for in books. I love a well detailed plot with characters that a person can identify with and the author came through! The secondary characters, however, could have been a bit more detailed. The dialogue was great and encouraging to all readers, young or old and held no serious violence. With a great plot, believable characters, outstanding dialogue and wonderful life lessons, I would recommend this book to all pre-teens and up if you have an sense of adventure and a sweet tooth for fantasy!