Series: The Marble Masquerade #1-3
Publication: November 29th, 2016 by Amazon Digital Services
Source: I received this for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Miriam!
My Rating: 2.75/5 stars
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Have you ever had a stuffed animal that you told everything to? A pet maybe that you felt was the only one who could understand you? What if one day your life-long confidante came to life? And you fell in love with him.
When we meet sixteen-year-old Clara, she already has a pretty full plate. She’s a student just trying to get through school but she has the added burden of worrying about her little brother who has leukemia. Just her, her mother, and her brother, Clara helps out financially as much as she can to help cover the bills by using her artistic abilities for online art commissions. She has an amazing group of friends and a slightly dramatic ex-boyfriend who all take up most of her free time. Except for the little bits of time she sections out to make the trek through the woods to the abandoned Mansion of her small town where one of her most precious secrets lives: her favorite gargoyle statue that overlooks the garden. Clara’s silent stone companion has always been there for her and knows everything about her from her father’s passing to her struggles with her home life and everything in between. But Clara’s life is turned upside down when the Mansion is suddenly purchased by a wealthy European family that has moved into town and her beautiful brooding friend disappears.
Since this edition has all three novels compiled together, there is a lot to this book! While some of the events and characterizations put me in the mind of Twilight, this book is certainly unique and unlike anything I have read before. Bridging between the paranormal and fantasy genres, the author has built an intricate yet accessible world full of magical creatures, alien dimensions, and an elaborate unknown backstory of human history. While the great bulk of these extra-dimensional worlds are explained through character dialogue, I think the author did a great job in organically building the world the book is set in without it becoming overwhelming or information-dumpy. I also found the world-building to be fairly easily understandable and I didn’t find myself left with hanging questions which is something difficult to achieve with these genres.
Because this edition does have all three novels, the book is very, very long. There is no indication of when one book ended and another began so the plot felt a little slow for me. I definitely think that it could’ve been shorter and faster-paced, but it’s also difficult to say when I do not know what was intended to be within each book. The chapters are long and some scenes were so elaborately detailed that I found myself a bit bored reading page after page of one event, especially in the case of the fight scenes. The book also features some pretty challenging prose. I am certainly not the most well-read person, but I went to a really good school and have a fairly wide vocabulary and knowledge of word meanings. More than once however while reading this book, I had to use the in-house dictionary to define something for me. While it added some color to the prose, I think some of the more difficult words were overused and the writing style isn’t easily accessible for the targeted demographic.
I found the characters to be okay. Clara is probably the most developed character in the series. I liked that she had such a large friend group. Most young adult books feature characters who either don’t have any friends or maybe have one best friend and that is it. It was refreshing to have such a wide-range of personalities showcased; however, they are all quite the typical typecasts—the brainiac friend with a large vocabulary that her friends find difficult to understand, the jokester of the group who never has a joke at the right time, the jock and his popular girlfriend who is beautiful but also sweet and hangs out with whoever she wants instead of being the stuck-up beauty queen, and so on. The majority of the series however features the supernatural characters who all have interesting backstories and more colorful personalities.
I did find myself struggling to connect with any of the characters which I think ultimately affected my star rating on this book. I really wanted to love Clara and some of the other characters but didn’t become attached to any of them, and often found myself confused with some of Clara’s decisions and reactions to different things. Some of the characterizations weren’t consistent either. For instance, Clara is pictured to be an average student with more artistic inclinations, but she uses a large vocabulary while also struggling to understand her brainiac friend and scholarly love interest. The love interest, Max, demonstrates in several scenes and is described multiple times as being quite arrogant, yet he is also pictured as being soft-hearted and self-sacrificing. He is also very intelligent and has a vast academic background but bumbles around when it comes to trying to keep the great family secret from Clara. I did really love some of the characters’ interactions in this book, especially the scenes between Clara and her ex-boyfriend’s eccentric grandfather and some of the more sassy scenes between Clara and Max, but overall the characters just didn’t have a gripping quality for me.
Ultimately, if you love elaborate world-building and heavily-detailed prose, I think this would be a good pick for you. If you’re looking for fantasy characters that are out of the norm, you will find them here. I certainly have a couple friends that I think would love this book. However, for me, I just didn’t feel a connection to the subject matter or characters and overall just got an average enjoyment out of the book.
What do YOU think? Do you think you’d ever fall in love with a statue-turned-supernatural character? Would you just run away screaming if your silent confidante turned out to be real? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.