It’s a two for one review today! (Because I’m awfully generous like that.)
Thank you Scholastic Australia for the review-copies!
You know that awkward moment when you just don’t get it? You read a book. You think about a book. You hold the book upside down (just in case). You squint at it a little…
It’s not working for me.
I had that awkward moment with A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty. You know me, blogglings! I hate writing negative reviews! Books are my favourite thing ever, so naturally I want to love ’em all.
But I just didn’t understand these books.
If you go on Goodreads, though, you’ll see most people rate this series 4 and 5 stars! They rave about the writing style and Jaclyn Moriarty is a favourite author of a lot of bookworms. If the blurb at all nibbles your interest, you should definitely check them out and see for yourself.
Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World — a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.
Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello — where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.
They are worlds apart — until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white — the slim seam of a letter.
A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.
Is it just me or does that blurb tell you nothing about the book? What is it with blurbs these days?!
But as vague as the blurb is, that’s how I felt about the book. It was…very quirky and poetic. But vague. I didn’t really know what the characters wanted to accomplish. Elliot’s world felt so magical and dangerous — but I never felt threatened or worried. Madeleine’s world felt so normal — but I never felt engaged.
The writing is like this:
Madeleine Tully turned fourteen yesterday, but today she did not turn anything. Oh, wait. She turned a page. (pg. 2)
Yup, it’s like that pretty much the whole time. Which is fresh and spunky, I totally appreciate that…but it was always very detached.
I felt like the story was being told at me, not me being swallowed into a story.
It’s told by a lot of different point’s-of-view, too. Mostly it’s alternates between Madeleine and Elliot. But, hey, there’s a chap with a weird hairstyle! Let’s let him have a turn narrating too! With a world so unique as Cello, I found it hugely hard to feel at home AND connect with the characters.
Princess Ko’s been bluffing about the mysterious absence of her father, desperately trying to keep the government running on her own. But if she can’t get him back in a matter of weeks, the consequences may be a devastating war. So under the guise of a publicity stunt, she gathers a group of teens — each with a special ability — from across the kingdom to crack the unsolvable case of the missing royals of Cello.
Chief among these is farm-boy heartthrob Elliot Baranski, more determined than ever to find his own father. And with the royal family trapped in the World with no memory of their former lives, Elliot’s value to the Alliance is clear: he’s the only one with a connection to the World, through his forbidden communications with Madeleine.
Through notes, letters, and late nights, Elliot and Madeleine must find a way to travel across worlds and bring missing loved ones home.
My first thought of this book was: Oh heck no, it’s 500-pages. It’s rare that I find a book that EVER needs to be that thick. The only one I can think of is Cress by Marissa Meyer. I was engaged the whole time. But even in Partials and Fragments by Dan Wells (both over 500-pages) they went on toooo loooooong.
I did skim-read this book at times, I admit. This series is just not for me (I would normally not have read it, but I was given to me).
There’s some technical issues in The Cracks in the Kingdom. Elliot and Madeleine write letters to each other and post them through the cracks. They get together so it’s like insta-chat. Woohoo! Execept, let’s be nit-picky here, but it takes a LONG TIME to hand-write notes. And they weren’t posting lines. They were posting pages of writing. It would have taken them hours to chat like that. Hours, I tell you! It takes me ages to text on a phone and I’m not even writing out the letters. I felt their communication was a bit unrealistic.
Also, nothing much happened. Lots of talking. Letter writing. Quirky details. Bit of dashing around, but all in all? 500-pages of not much. And it was confusing. I just spent most of the book…confused.
Both A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom are very original, magical and artistic books. But for me, they were kind of boring, too.
But hey! I did love the world’s name: Cello! I play the cello! It is the most fabulous instrument in existence.
Cait has been playing cello for 2 years. It is the most precious thing she owns (apart from her bookshelf). Once when her 2 year old nephew fell over the cello, she may or may not have grabbed the cello not the toddler. Priorities, okay? Currently, she’s watching the behind-the-scenes of The Piano Guys’ version of Let It Go and cringing as they wreck another piano.