Monday, October 29, 2012

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Lizzie Rose and Parsefall work for the master puppeteer Grisini.  Both are orphans so they have little choice but to do whatever Grisini tells them as well as enduring his ill-treatment.  After presenting at a birthday party the birthday girl, Clara, disappears and Grisini is the lead suspect.  Lizzie Rose and Parsefall find Clara, but they have a hard time accepting really her since she is now one of Grisini's puppets.  When a big fight with Grisini results in him falling down the stairs and presumably dying, the two children decide to flee London for the country after finding an invitation among Grisini's letters.  What they don't know is that they are running from one danger into another when they arrive at the home of a witch looking to give her cursed power to one of the children.  This is a complex book with numerous threads throughout.  Although it is well-reviewed, it didn't grab me at all and the descriptions of Parsefall made it difficult for me to feel much sympathy for him if, indeed, that was the author's intent.