Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Blog tour: Kate Forsyth and The Puzzle Ring (review + video reading)

Welcome to the first blog tour, both for myself and the lovely author Kate Forsyth! Yesterday a review of The Puzzle Ring was posted on Bookalicious Ramblings, and also a character interview on Tales of Whimsy. I'm in the process of finding the exact link (headache gremlins are back today, so the review of Kate's previous book The Gypsy Crown will wait for another day). Tomorrow Kate's blog tour will continue over on Ejly. First up: the review.

The Puzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth

June 2009, Scholastic
448 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Fantasy, Children's

Cushions: 5
Daggers: 3
Smiles: 3
Tissues: 5
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Scholastic

Hannah Rose Brown is twelve years old when she finds out that her family is cursed. Desperate to find the truth about her father's disappearance, she and her mother travel from Australia to their ancestral home in Scotland. There they discover a chain of dark secrets that plunges Hannah into different worlds, new time-frames and unimaginable dangers. Is it worth risking everything to find her missing father? An enchanting fantasy adventure.

I Identifed with Hannah from the outset because the books she reads were all the ones I would read when I was her age. It is safe to say my reading preferences have drastically broadened. Her favourite skirt nearly matches my own favourite skirt..

Hannah's straight forward thinking shows the innocence of young adults: seeing the world in black and white does make life a little simpler. There isn't a need for indecision which can cost valuable time. Her bluntness may horrify her mother, but she gets answers a lot quicker than if she danced around a subject. A favourite moment was when Hannah used her mother's view on the world as a way to win the mild disagreement. I mentally yelled 'Yeah' when Hannah got her own back on Scarlett.Hannah's range of emotions towards her mother and other people accurately mirror the turmoil teens go through.The reason for Scarlett's enmity took me by surprise. I immediatly wanted to reread the boo so I could understand more details with the new knowledge.

The resentment of Hannah's mother skews Hannah's view of Lady Wintersloe. Like Hannah I thought her great-grandmother was very much an aristocrat bur not in a snobby way. She enjoys etiquette, but not so much that she thinks Hannah's questions are rude.

I felt sorry for Hannah's mother. The strain of returning to a life she swore she would leave forever showed in her reactions to everything. In a way, with Hannah's personality Roz was reliving some of the past. I had to laugh at Roz's view on Scottish weather - snow most definitely comes below the South of Scotland!

Donovan could be a modern version of Dicken from The Secret Garden...although you wouldn't guess it by looking at him. He gentler than he looks.

After the incident with a toad I knew the story would be infused with magic. The ability of the hag stone is imaginative. I liked the kelpie horse. Useful creatures when lots of people need transport. Maybe the fairies used them like buses.

Kate mentioned that Elizabeth Goudge's A Little White Horse is one of her favourite books. If you look carefully in the Puzzle Ring, there are a few ideas where I can see a small influence from The Little White Horse. The Puzzle Ring is a darker version of Elizabeth Goudge's tale, with a great deal more suspense and magic (which didn't feature largely in TLWH).

I had expected delving into the past to happen a bit sooner. But after a few chapters in, I realised the time travelling couldn't have happened sooner. Certain events needed to take place so Hannah and her friends had the best level of comraderie to aid them on their quest.

In some ways the finding of the last two parts of the puzzle ring felt a little short compared with the events of finding the earlier parts, but they didn't feel rushed.

One event shocked me, I was outraged at what happened and wished for revenge.

Initially I thought the woman who was the gardener might have been Hannah's great-grandmother, whose house I would like to live in. Then I thought the same of the cook..

Yet again (this comment makes more sense with the review from The Gypsy Crown) I couldn't work out how the story would be resolved. The outlook was pretty bleak for Hannah. However, once more Kate Forsyth works her magic in creating a gripping finale to a magical action-packed adventure. I was so happy with the ending that I nearly cried.

Kate Forsyth's website is here.

Be sure to check out my review of Kate's book, The Gypsy Crown (hopefully reviewing it tomorrow)

And now for Kate reading an extract of The Puzzle Ring! (please click on the link for the video).

Thank you Kate for creating the video (and her son who filmed it).


Becky said...

Great review. This is such a fab book for the 10+ market. I just wish it had been around when I was that age.

Lauren said...

This is such a great, detailed review. I adore this book! It's funny that you mention you nearly cried because you were so happy with the ending - that's how I felt too, and I'm not much of a crier. I haven't read any of Kate's other books, so I'll definitely check out your review of The Gypsy Crown.

Juju at Tales of said...

Ya're right. Poor mum.

Juju at Tales of said...

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Yunaleska said...

Thanks everyone!

I like blog tours...I'm getting to know more bloggers!