A blog about (mostly) young adult books. Reviews, discussions, cover reveals, giveaways, and more! Please visit my main website at ohthebooks.com
I have many conflicting thoughts about this book. On the one hand, I think Ciye Cho has an incredible imagination, and I really enjoyed the playful tone of this story. On the other hand, there were a few things that held me back from really falling in love with this book. Let me break it down into some lists.
The Good Stuff
- I was initially intrigued by the synopsis, which told me that Rory is a baker (um, yay!), and there was plenty of pastry fun to be found in this book. All the talk of cakes and cookies made me happy, and there's a dream kitchen that had me giddy with excitement!
- The story was interesting and a lot of fun. At times, I was reminded of Alice in Wonderland, because of all the strange, vibrant people and scenes in this book.
- There is a talking cat in this book (and I don't really think I'm spoiling anything by telling you this). He is no doubt one of the best characters in the book, and probably one of the most fleshed out. Every scene with this cat made me smile or giggle.
- The world of Palladino is quite imaginative, and a lot of fun to picture in one's mind. Cho's background as a graphic designer is evident here, because there are so many times where I just thought to myself, "Oh, cool!"
- There is plenty of humor. I found Rory to be an amusing narrator, and often her inner thoughts would make me snicker, because she was so snarky; I could relate to her a lot of the time.
- Um, the cover? It actually fits the story perfectly and -- gasp! -- even depicts a scene in the book. Imagine that! Again, this is definitely a perk, considering that the author is a graphic designer. (Have you seen the covers for his other books? Also gorgeous.)
The Not-as-Good Stuff
- Remember how I mentioned the baking parts? There were also several times where I was left grumbling to myself. Now, perhaps I'm just a bit of a pastry snob, so I did try to keep an open mind. I won't go into detail (contact me elsewhere, if you must know more), but there were several things that really made me question or doubt the author's knowledge of pastrycraft. It wasn't horrible, but again, maybe I'm just a snob.
- The need for more editing. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not awful or I wouldn't have read the whole thing. I think my issue is just that this book has so much potential to be amazing, to be a 5-star book for me, but it fell short. Amazingly, this is the first indie I've read in which I noticed less than 5 actual typos or grammatical errors (which is obviously a good thing). However, this one also seems to have less sophisticated writing than I prefer. You may (or may not) have noticed me griping about the amount of sentences I counted that began with "That's when..." while reading this book. Sigh.
- I wish the writing had been pushed to the next level. You know how they say "show, don't tell" when giving advice to writers? Oh, friends, I wish so badly that this book had gotten more attention in this department. So much of the narration included short sentences that just told me what was happening. And then, right when I was about to sigh in frustration, there'd be this paragraph that rose above the rest and I could almost feel myself really inside the story. And then it would dip again.
In the end, I did enjoy Rory, and I am definitely looking forward to the sequel. But I think this is one example of a good book that could have been turned into an amazing book. That being said, if anything about Rory intrigues you, I definitely recommend giving it a shot (especially if you like baking and cats).
[NOTE: I also want to clarify how much I enjoyed the book, despite the few negatives. Please see my comment reply to Shanelle for more.]