I apologize that it’s been a while since you’ve seen a book review on here. I had really been doing a great job of finding time to read (something that’s always difficult between work and kids) and using that time to clean out my bookshelves. Unfortunately, it took me several weeks to get through The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul.
From the Cover: In The Vanishing Sculptor, readers will meet Tipper, a young emerlindian who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own? The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions–including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon–and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder. Through Tipper’s breathtaking story, readers will discover the beauty of knowing and serving God.
What I Loved: Paul’s writing is easy to read, with varied sentence structure and variable word use to keep things moving. With the main characters, she does a good job of establishing their personalities and how they think about the world. One character in particular who stands out is Lady Peg, Tipper’s mother. Her mind wanders off into odd places, and her dialogue is usually quite entertaining.
What I Didn’t Love So Much: Unfortunately, there’s a lot I didn’t like about this book. It’s a bit difficult to keep track not of the characters but of their world. There are too many references to types of people or places or animals without some sort of description of them. I feel that a fantasy book that introduces us to an entirely new world needs to be a little bit less abstract. Otherwise, it just feels like the story is one big dream.
Another thing that contributes to this abstract feeling is that questions continue to arise along the way without ever getting answered at the end. We never understand exactly why Tipper’s father disappears all the time. He and his friends think they have a solution to this problem, but we’re never told why this solution should work. There are hints about Lady Peg’s past, but again these never come full-circle. It made the ending very frustrating.
I believe it was this dreamlike quality that kept me from truly getting into the book and why it took me so long to finish it. I always feel guilty if I don’t finish a book once I’ve started, but since the end provided so few answers I’m not sure it was worth pushing through.
I think it’s interesting that this is supposed to be a book that, according to the summary on Amazon, is supposed to help readers “discover the beauty of knowing and serving God.” There were references to a deity, but I couldn’t see any real links that would tie this into the real world.
Rating and Recommendation: While I wasn’t happy with this book, the writing itself (stylistically and grammatically) was perfectly fine. I give it two stars.
Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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