Monday, February 13, 2012

Questions of Life and Death

Published: October 4th, 2011
Liesl and Po
By: Lauren Oliver
ISBN-13: 9780062014511

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.


   Liesl is locked away in the attic upon the sudden death of her Father, by her evil Stepmother (who only wants Liesl's money without her in the way).  Liesl is unexpectedly visited by Po, not a boy or a girl, but most certainly a spirit from the Other Side and Po's Cat/Dog companion Bundle.  She makes Po promise to find her Father and tell him goodbye.  Po doesn't expect to ever actually do this, but does find Liesl's Father.  He wants his ashes to be taken to the house they lived in when Liesl's Mother was still alive and well.  She decides to undertake the journey, sneaking out of the attic to do so.  What she isn't aware of, is that the alchemist's apprentice, Will, had accidentally switched the box of her Father's ashes with a box of the most powerful magic in the world.  Now Liesl is being chased down by the woman who it was intended for, the Alchemist, Mo (the woman's kind security guard) and her stepmother who wants to get rid of her once and for all.  Will Liesl be able to get her Father to his resting place and will she be able to let him go in the end?  More importantly what will happen to the magic once it's unleashed?  This was a cute book, full of magic and fantastic occurences peppered in on top of ordinary people and places.  I truly enjoyed reading about Po, Bundle and the Other Side.  However, I was at times bored by the slowness of the plot and detached from the characters' predicaments.  I liked Liesl and Will, but never really empathized with them at all.  Mo was wonderful, but I felt like Lauren Oliver did him a diservice by making him mentally slow (kind of like saying he was only kind to the children because he wasn't exactly a 'real' adult) and it bothered me.  Overall a fine story, but a little off in it's connection with me and I would recommend it more for children twelve or under (maybe teachers too).  The illustrations were a serious high point for me.

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores and online.*

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