Monday, January 20, 2014

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra - Colm McElwain

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra
As you all know, I have tremendously enjoyed getting involved with the book tour world. It has brought such variety to my reading, something for which I am very grateful. It also has brought some wonderful books into my life.

Today is another first experience, albeit one in the same vein. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by one of you about reading and reviewing a new book. I happily agreed and am so glad I did. Thanks, Lauren, for approaching me. I hope you are the first of many to do so!

The book, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra, falls slightly out of the typical for Read.Write.Repeat. While I suppose it could be classified as young adult, it really is geared toward a slightly younger age. Since I'm constantly saying that there is something for everyone here, I figured it was worth the diversion.

James Clyde is a delightful middle age book. I think it would be especially appropriate for young boys. Maybe a great option for those who don't love reading and need just the right thing to entice them?

The book had a charming, youthful feel. It felt like a mix of Narnia, Harry Potter, and Eragon. Young orphan boy discovers his past is not at all what he thought it was when he is transported to another world with two friends. While it is a pretty typical formula for this type of thing, the setting and characters were fresh.

I very much appreciated that the dark parts, and they are just as present as they are in any good story like this, were balanced with a lot of childlike innocence. The heavier moments may be too much for some younger children, but I thought they were handled well for the intended readership. After all, having a true, strong battle between good and evil is so essential to books like these.

The dialogue did feel a little flat. However, I would not list that as a fault. It was targeted correctly toward the audience. I hold no expectation that a book for young readers should contain the same complexity in dialogue or character development I look for in my typical fare. There is certainly a strong argument that those features are valuable in any setting for any age - I believe they are. I just do not find them as necessary at this level.

For all its charm, there were a few noticeable drawbacks. The prologue and epilogue felt oddly disconnected from the rest of the book. They tied in, but barely. I finished the book still with some questions about what had actually happened in the prologue. The epilogue, on the other hand, seemed to serve the singular purpose of setting the book up for a sequel. I had to flip back to an early chapter to even recall the character the epilogue centered around.

Also, Orchestra felt much too small. The description of distance in the book had me quite confused at times. When I think of other words, I think of vast landscapes such as Narnia or Middle Earth. Huge maps with oddly named outlying cities - you know the sort. Yet, the world of Orchestra consisted of two warring kingdoms. The characters seemed to be able to cross from one kingdom to the other in a matter of minutes. Yet, we were supposed to believe that it took years to search these lands for the missing diamonds. Perhaps there is much more territory to be discovered in future installments. But, for this introduction to Orchestra, the imaginary map my mind created could have used some help.

All in all, the book was enjoyable and I am glad I read it. It was fun and frivolous, a definite departure from my typical morose selections. It was a very easy read, not quite addictive, but close. If you are looking for a quick, light-hearted adventure, James Clyde is your ticket.

Pages: 240
Date Completed: January 10, 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment