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Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and Glooms

Scritto da Laura Amy Schlitz

Narrato da Davina Porter


Splendors and Glooms

Scritto da Laura Amy Schlitz

Narrato da Davina Porter

valutazioni:
4/5 (25 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
12 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781470323738
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

Newbery Medal-winning author Laura Amy Schlitz has garnered starred reviews and popular acclaim for her Victorian gothic thriller Splendors and Glooms. When Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, pleads that master puppeteer Gaspare Grisini perform at her birthday party, she unwittingly places herself in the utmost peril. After Clara disappears the night of the show, Grisini's innocent assistants attempt to locate the missing birthday girl- but dark and terrifying forces await.

Pubblicato:
Jan 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781470323738
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Laura Amy Schlitz is a librarian and storyteller in Baltimore County, USA. She has worked as a costumer, actress and playwright, and her plays for young people have been produced in theatres all over the county. She has been awarded the Newbery Medal and numerous other literary awards. She is a New York Times bestselling author.

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4.2
25 valutazioni / 31 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    This is not a book I would have ever picked up to read, but since it was on the Mock Newbery October read, I did, and not with the best attitude. I wasn't a big fan of Good Masters, Sweet Ladies. But this writing was msterful. This is Newbery quality! The characters were so well developed. I felt I knew Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. It was creepy, yet a sweet story of love as well.
  • (5/5)
    This was ~almost~ a perfect book. The conclusion was just a little anti-climactic given the brilliance of the rest of the book, but that's my only negative comment.Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are apprentices to Grisini, a master puppetteer in 19th century London. He is a harsh man, and took in the two orphans more because he could use them than because they needed help. Grisini is called upon to give a show at the home of the wealthy Wintermute's, whose sole living daughter, Clara, saw the puppets in the park one day and has wanted nothing else since. Clara tries to befriend Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, but when all is done, she is cornered by Grisini, who turns out not merely to be a bad man, but a truly wicked one, with a bit of witchcraft in him. This is only the first few chapters of the book, but I won't say more, lest I give away things that are better discovered on reading the book. The cast of characters is fairly small, and each one well developed. Though a little longer than the average YA novel, there is nothing wasted. Everything is part of the overall tale. There are no pointless subplots. Deliciously creepy and Neil Gaiman-esque.
  • (3/5)
    3.5 I enjoyed this story and the characters. I feel like it will appeal to fans of Dickens. It is a longer book and the pacing is slow and steady. Longer review to come.
  • (4/5)
    An evil puppet master who dabbles in black magic, his two young orphaned apprentices, a wicked witch with a powerful fire opal, and a girl suffering through life with wealthy parents stuck in continual mourning for their other lost children, all come together is a slightly dark, slightly creepy (in a good way) story set in Victorian London. This one was fun - the children are easy to root for and the villains are throughly (if a little campily) evil.
  • (4/5)
    This one grew on me, until by the end I was quite moved--and testifies to the power of an unrushed denouement. I felt the beginning/middle section was a bit too leisurely, however, and the book picked up considerably for me once the characters arrived at Strachan's Ghyll. Probably not quite tight enough to make a good read-aloud, but I enjoyed it as my bath book, even more as I went along. (For much of the way, I felt it was good enough, but surprised at the Newberry honour).

    (Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. There are a lot of 4s and 3s in the world!)
  • (4/5)
    I really, really liked this book. It started a bit slowly for me and the ending dragged a little bit, but Laura Amy Schlitz's writing made me feel the feelings. This is a story with the feel of a classic and I'd thrust it into the hands of middle grade readers who love A LITTLE PRINCESS or PETER PAN.
  • (5/5)
    Keep an eye on this book! I think you'll be hearing alot more about it in the coming months. Newbery Award winning author Laura Amy Schlitz has once again crafted a novel that is a little on the dark side, but not so much as to alienate her middle grades audience. It's an on-the-edge of your seat read that will have you guessing up until the very end...and then cheering. A must-read.
  • (5/5)
    When Clara Wintermute insists on having Gaspere Grisini's puppet show at her birthday, a dark story of amazing magic and connection begins. After the show, Clara, the only surviving child of the wealthy Dr. and Mrs. Wintermute, disappears. Shortly after, so does Grisini. The two orphans in his care, Lizze Rose and Parsefall, get the feeling that the two disappearances are connected and decide to call on Grisini's friend (and a witch), Cassandra to help find Clara again. Amazing. Creepy, but amazing. This is definitely a higher level book in terms of content, but the story is so intricate and the ending was not disappointing.
  • (4/5)
    I hate this feeling. I am having An Issue -- that thing where you wanted to love a book, but just can't. I readily admit that Splendors and Glooms had me sold superficially - based on the awesome title and the eye-catchingly foreboding cover (not to mention the "Newberry Medal Winner" label), I anticipated an imaginative and dark, fully-involving read. And for some of 400 pages that makes up this novel, I got exactly what I had anticipated, but even creepier (think that awful episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark with the awful human-porcelain dolls) but other sections of the narrative failed to live up that level of engagement and creepitude. Laura Amy Schlitz has shown herself certainly as an author with an eye for detail and as a talented storyteller, but on the whole, this novel is not as tight as it could've been with some editing and a little more focus on character development.Splendors and Glooms is a hard beast for me to categorize upon finishing reading; it's labelled most commonly as middle grade on Goodreads, and while some elements certainly come across that way, others are far more mature and advanced than usually seen for that particular genre. It's a dark, detailed and very Gothic tale of two orphans at the whims of two very unpleasant and unscrupulous people -- like puppets wheeled out on a string. For all that Splendors and Glooms talks a big game and my initial enjoyment (and apprehension! Kids trapped in dolls! Insane, unhinged witches! Evil magician kidnappers!), I was mildly let down by several stretches in this unusual book; after the kids flee London there is an extended lull in the pacing and events (read: not a lot happens for 75-100 pages or so); and for a final conflict with a mad witch, an evil magician/puppeteer and three smart, creative kids, the finale of this came off as far too easy and simple. It lacked excitement or suspense when it should have been most riveting. It just seems so incredibly easy - all the fallout is ridiculously convenient or overcome with a few tears. After collapsing a tower and escaping magical spells, surely the denouement could've been spiced up just a bit, instead of reading as dryly and simply as it does?I enjoyed this, but it wasn't the great experience, the wholly encompassing Gothic tale I'd hoped for. Splendors and Glooms was definitely good - fun, with a few unseen twists to keep me intrigued as the serviceable prose and likeable, if not wholly developed, characters meandered their way through the plot. I just wanted more: more from the characters, more from the atmosphere, more excitement. The characters here are largely one-dimensional (particularly the antagonists), except for the children: Cassandra is desperate, Grisini is evil, Pinchbeck is an amusing drunk. The author's subtle execution of Cassandra's attempts to manipulate the canny Parsefall and the innocent Lizzie into doing as she wants casts a striking parallel with the core story of Grisini, the missing children from all over England, as well as his handlings with Parsefall particularly. While Grisini's level of malevolence and even his presence, fell further and further from notice, Cassandra's turn at the helm of "puppeteer" made for the most macabre scene of the entire novel.The antagonists shown here are clearly more of the MG genre type of ilk. Not for Splendors and Glooms the complex, conflicted, charismatic villain that I love to read about; both Cassandra and Grisini are primarily motiveless (outside sheer greed) and one-dimensional in their development. They're just bad because they are. Consequently, Cassandra's life is as hollow and lifeless as the dolls that Grisini cultivates, and to their credit, the rest of the players are largely more dynamic than the ailing woman. As for the others, Lizzie Rose is primarily one note for three-fourths of the novel - perpetually sweet and innocent as a contrast to Parsefall's more inscrutable, cutthroat nature. Parsefall alone is the question mark amongst all the other characters - his nature and his story are more YA than middle grade in tone, and his conflicted personalty is more adult in nature than his contemporaries of Lizzie and Clara. He's interesting in a way Lizzie and the others just aren't. Ms. Wintermute's story is fairly compelling once the author slowly reveals the story of "the Others" and Clara's life after, but not much insight is given into developing further. This is perhaps hampered by her state for much of the book, but Clara's story lacked the edge it needed; rather it was Parsefall's "black spot" that proved the more riveting, if sad.Though uneven, I think I am a fan of this dark and twisted tale of secrets, magic and betrayal. The slower pace and final conflict may lose a few readers, but I liked this. I didn't love Splendors and Glooms as I wanted to, but this was an enjoyable and unusual read for me. Some aspects fell short and didn't live up to expectations, other surprised me with their inclusion, but my impression was largely favorable for this imaginative journey with Parsefall, Lizzie Rose, Ruby and Clara.
  • (4/5)
    While I didn't particularly like her Newbery Medal Award winning book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, I very much liked this one!Fairy tale like, containing a cast of young children trying to escape an evil and then not so evil witch, and a mean, nasty puppetmaster/magician, beauty and creativity abound in Splendors and Glooms.Set in London during the time when street urchins abounded, when poverty was soul numbing and brutal, without a safety net, those who are widowed or orphaned must somehow survive.Gaspare Grisini uses two orphans to ply his puppet mastery trade while pick pocketing those in attendance. When they entertain Clara, a wealthy young girl, in her lavish home, soon thereafter she disappears. When his wards discover that Grisini turned Clara into one of his puppets, the tale twists and turns as together the children quest for freedom.This is a dazzling, magical, lyrical book. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    This is a long book and it took a little while to get into it, but I did get caught up in it and think it is a good book to recommend to certain children. Clara is a wealthy child in 1800's London, but has to live in perpetual mourning because her four siblings died suddenly of cholera five years ago. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are orphans who have been commendeered by an evil puppeteer to assist him in his street performances. The three children are brought together when Clara begs her parents for a puppet show on her birthday, but that night she disappears and though all involved suspect Grisini, not even Lizzie Rose and Parsefall can figure out where she is and what he did with her. Then Grisini disappears himself and the children discover a mysterious new puppet that looks exactly like Clara. Their quest to simply survive as well as find Clara leads them to a country estate, a dying witch, and a magical stone that grants wishes yet brings its owner only misery.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book because it is on several lists suggested for the 2012 Newbery Award. I loved this book. As I was reading it felt like I was reading some of those old favorites of mine, THE SECRET GARDEN and the LITTLE PRINCESS, with a dash of evil magic seen in more recent books. I love books where good triumphs over bad, and from teh beginning you know that all will turn out fine, but you keep reading because you love the characters and you want to cheer their plucky courage on!
  • (4/5)
    A story reminiscent of a Grimm fairy tale, with setting, telling, and characters so Victorian I could practically smell the fog. I've seen the word "dickensian" used multiple times in descriptions. It was obvious that Schlitz was painstaking not only in her research, but also in her construction and development of the story and characters. This book is complex--surprisingly so for a children's book. The pacing is slower than most, but the story is intriguing and the rounded characters likable, despite their imperfections. I liked that Schlitz did not shy away from the sinister--this is one of the things that gives it that Grimm feel. (But beware--I think parts of this book would have given me nightmares as a child). I just don't know how much kid-appeal this book has. At nearly 400 pages, it's long (and not Harry Potter, can't-put-it-down long). That combined with the pacing and density of it makes it a hard sell. But I think if you found the right reader, it could be a hit.
  • (5/5)
    There's a lot to recommend Splendors & Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz: characters, atmosphere, setting, style . . . but be ready for a book that does not rush, that you sink into and enjoy slowly.Clara is a daughter of privilege, the only living child of her wealthy and doting parents. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are ragged urchins, apprentices to Grisini, a street performer. Grisini has an almost magical skill with puppets, and a dark past that hints of real black magic. When Grisini is hired to perform a puppet show at Clara's birthday party, little do the three children know that their lives are about to become inexplicably intertwined.I very much enjoyed this book, with its Dickensian setting and characters, the subtle touches of magic, the hints of pathos behind each child's story. It's an oddly compelling and somewhat demanding story, and from the reviews I've read, it's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of book. I loved it.
  • (5/5)
    In short: Splendors and Glooms showcases Laura Amy Schlitz's masterful storytelling and ability to transport the reader to her fully realized setting.Splendors and Glooms is a most apt title for this book, a Victorian Era fantasy set in dank and gloomy London featuring bewitching and splendid marionette theatre shows. Splendors and Glooms follows orphans Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, and rich girl Clara Wintermute, as they are manipulated and used by two sinister magicians caught up in an ancient feud, indeed as though they are the puppets themselves. Though it is labeled as Middle Grade, there's a very dark and disturbing undertone to this Gothic mystery that may be more suitable to a more mature readership.Splendors and Glooms features a large cast of varied characters, all exceedingly well developed and distinct. I was so impressed at how quickly I grew so fond of the three main characters: Prim and lady-like Lizzie Rose, blunt and unabashed Parsefall, and tragic and guilt-ridden Clara - these are some of the most fully realized characters I've read this year. And it's not just the main cast of characters; the side characters are remarkably complex and interesting as well. The witch and the puppeteer Grisini and their history, especially, were fantastically fascinating additions to the story.The most brilliant part of Splendors and Glooms though is Laura Amy Schlitz's incredible talent at transporting the reader into the setting, utterly and completely. Never have I read a book with a Victorian London setting that was so rich and masterfully described. And it was also written very much in the mode of Dickens' era literature. Laura Amy Schlitz has written a book that totally could've been an actual book in Victorian times and that is not an easy feat to accomplish. She's either a consummately skilled writer or a time traveller from Victorian London. I'm betting time traveller.Though I think some people may find the pacing of Splendors and Glooms to be a bit slow, I personally was constantly invested in the story and the characters and was held entranced by the realistic setting and the skilful writing. And... it's a standalone, guys! With an ending that I loved, too. Splendors and Glooms will be published August 28, 2012. I highly recommend it.
  • (3/5)
    Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are apprentices of a cruel puppet-master, Grisini. They are mistreated and miserable, but they have one bright afternoon--teatime with a little lonely rich girl. Then Clara goes missing and they are suspected of kidnapping her. When Grisini disappears as well, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall follow to find him in the home of a mysterious old woman. Cassandra has powerful sorceries, and the choice she offers the children could save them from Grisini's torments--or doom them for eternity.

    I really enjoyed this. Each character is unique and memorable, and the problem they are set is at first dauntingly insurmountable. I liked that over time, they found ways to connect to each other and think their way out.

    Although the main characters are young, their circumstances are grim and the nuances of their Victorian society probably difficult for equally young readers to understand.
  • (4/5)
    I really like this one. It seems like it will be realistic but there is definitely a fantasy element that comes into play. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are a couple of young poor children who the puppet master Grisini takes in. He is cruel to them but it beats living on the street and in the workhouses. Grisini is even more cruel to Clara. This is a dark tale that you have to read to the last chapter! I don't know that I'll ever look at puppets the same way.
  • (2/5)
    I loved the setting and the story's opening. The gruesome puppet master as slave driver to orphaned children in Victorian London was enthralling. The book had a pacing problem (for me) near the middle, and I had to slog it out to finish. Once the children leave London for the staid setting of a country mansion, the plot seemed to drag, and the resolution didn't live up to the conflict.
  • (2/5)
    While this book was well written and fanciful, it wasn't quite my cup of tea. I read it because it's one of the Young Hoosier Book Award nominees and was highly commended for being a great book for middle readers. I won't deny it that, it's got a unique plot, memorable characters, and a sense of foreboding. The story follows two young orphans who are in the service of puppet master, Grisini. Grisini is a cruel, unlikable man, but little do they know that he dabbles in magic. When a young wealthy girl goes missing they wonder what his involvement can possibly be. They soon realize that things are not what they seem and they are in the middle of a decades old feud for power. Can the orphans help save the day, will they be able to tell right from wrong?
  • (4/5)
    This story starts off with a lot of set-up and for me that was a tad frustrating (which is why I only give it 4 stars). I knew that the story would take off once the action started happening, and it did. I love the characters, Clara, Lizzie Rose, and Parsefall. Each one has their own story and they are told beautifully throughout the main story of the kidnapping. It's a great story about being true to yourself and not getting stuck on your worries from the past. Very good book for both boys and girls - I would say from grades 5 and up.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this Victorian gothic novel about two orphans, a villainous puppetmaster, a little girl who is turned into a puppet, and an ultimately goodhearted witch. It has a reasonably good plot that unfolds slowly but relentlessly, great characters, and overall good writing that combine together into an excellent book.

    (I listened to the audiobook which had excellent narration by Davina Porter.)
  • (5/5)
    The Phoenix Stone is a fire opal that grants great power, and a great curse, upon the person who possesses it. Cassandra, an aged woman and witch, has it and wants to get rid of it. Grisini, a wizard and puppeteer in London, wants it but can’t get it. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, Grisini’s apprentices in fantocini, don’t care about it, but are used as pawns in the wizard’s scheme to acquire it. And Clara is the victim of enchantments and a kidnapping plot as her fate aligns with that of the others and to that of the Phoenix Stone. Actually, all of the characters are victims in this tale of intrigue taking place in London, 1816: Cassandra and Grisini are prey to their greed and ambition; Lizzie and Paresfall to the vicissitudes of being orphans at time when poverty and workhouses were common and; Clara of a survivor’s guilt dating back to the death of all of her siblings.Splendors and Glooms is a fantastic tale with magic and thrills and, rich in detail of setting and thought; but it is also a rather dark and sophisticated story. It is ostensibly aimed at children, ages 8 -12, presumably because the story features children in that age range. The story provides a number of opportunities to explore a different time, place and culture. Listeners actually of the target demographic might benefit from the insight of a more mature reader to more fully explain subjects as death masks, memento mori, London fog, child exploitation, cholera, … than is addressed in the book itself. There is also some rather frightening imagery described in the story: witches burning, a lurid monkey-shaped bell pull, a scene in a crypt, a bit of violence and blood… in fact quite a bit more gloom than splendor overall. There is a trend in children’s literature that encourages walking on the dark side, indulging in the more gothic themes that harken back to the original fairy tales, and Splendors and Glooms follows this trend.Davina Porter is the British narrator whose work on this book is irreproachable. Her cultured voice, distinct characterizations, her ability to disappear into the text, mark her as a master narrator. In Splendors and Glooms, Davina Porter voices the POVs of an aged crone, an old, sleazy man, a pre-adolescent girl with theatrical training, an illiterate street urchin (boy) and a little rich girl, all with seeming ease. Splendors and Glooms is a relatively long book for children’s fare, but the narrator’s pace never flagged and was as strong at the end as it was in the beginning.
  • (3/5)


    Enthralling? Yes. Dark? Yes. Victorian? Yes, right down to the kind of grotesque mourning customs. Comic? Nope. Not at all.
  • (3/5)
    It's really hard to rate this one. It's very well written, the characters are nicely drawn and completely believable, as is the setting. There are lots of interesting and original ideas in it (though not the idea of turning people into puppets, which was done in children's magical fantasy by Dianna Wynne Jones back in 1980 in The Magicians of Caprona, another Italian-themed book). But I can't give this one more than three stars because I really did not enjoy it very much. There's not a lot to enjoy. The reader goes through a series of miserable, painful experiences with the characters, young and old. Nothing the slightest bit pleasant happens until the last few pages. In addition, a great deal of time is spent exploring the feelings and lives of the adult characters--I can't imagine a kid caring much about this, since I sure didn't. For that reason, and because it's so emotionally dark and heavy, I don't think it will appeal to younger MG readers.
  • (4/5)
    This was difficult to put down once I started - truly the story was entrancing. Grissini is a cruel guardian who uses fear and magic to keep his two wards under his spell. Then they encounter young Clara, surrounded by grief, and their world is forever changed. Clara disapears and a force darker than Grissini suddenly enters their life and they find they are real life puppets in a drama none of them could ever have imagined.
  • (2/5)
    Lacked the courageous child drama of "The Drowned Maiden's Hair" -- too much reliance on magic that came out of nowhere.
  • (3/5)
    Ages 10-14Splendors and Glooms is a 2013 Newbery Honor book, and author Laura Amy Schlitz has garnered excellent reviews on her previous works, but this just didn't do it for me. It felt like a slog and I had to force myself to finish it. The vocabulary was rich and the scenes and characters expressive, but it seemed that certain parts were unnecessarily dragged out.
  • (3/5)
    I can see why this won a Newbery honor, since it's extremely well written, but I have trouble imagining many actual middle schoolers reading this for pleasure. It's very Dickensian in nature; we see life for the poor, and life for the wealthy, with a truly despicable villain. The dash of magic is hugely important to the plot of course, but I read it mostly to be about class issues. The narrator, Davina Porter, was absolutely perfect and added to my enjoyment of the novel greatly—I'm not sure I'd have been able to get through it if I hadn't listened to it.
  • (5/5)
    Are you in the mood for just the right amount of magic and puppetry and suspense and thievery? If that’s the case, then you’re in the mood for Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, whose previous book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village was a Newbery Award winner. Splendors and Gloooms is no slouch either, being a 2013 Newbery Honor Book. Since I’m having trouble these days describing books, I’ll take the description off of the Association for Library Services to Children website: “Lizzie Rose, Parsefall and Clara are caught in the clutches of a wicked puppeteer and a powerful witch in this deliciously dark and complex tale set in Dickensian England, where adventure and suspense are interwoven into nuanced explorations of good versus evil.” It is deliciously dark and scary. You can feel the London fog wherever Lizzie Rose and Parsefall travel. Parsefall is the perfect Dickensian ragamuffin and Lizzie Rose is his prim and proper, although poor, partner in crime, both dominated by greasy, master puppeteer Grisini–a perfect name for him. When these three perform at Clara’s twelfth birthday party and she disappears soon thereafter, the plot thickens. How the bigger than life Cassandra, the powerful witch in her remote castle, enters into the story is for readers to find out. Even Ruby the spaniel is adorable. Readers will feel like they are living through an 1860s London winter.They’ll certainly feel like they are part of the story, not merely reading it. They might find themselves shouting out loud, “No Parsefall, don’t do that!” or “Watch out. Grisini’s hiding there!” Even I was afraid of Grisini. My daughter recommended this book to me, before it was voted an honor book, indicating her good taste in books. For some reason, Splendors and Glooms, to me, was a middle school version of Night Circus because they had that same foggy aura (although their subjects are somewhat different). So, my 2013 has started off with a bang. I’ve finished Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool and now Splendors and Glooms. Next up is Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone which is getting great reviews and The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver which has gotten great reviews. And then coming down the pike soon is Beth Kephart’s Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent, a prequel to Dangerous Neighbors. I know, also, that Susan Campbel Bartoletti’s new book, Down the Rabbit Hole: The Diary of Pringle Rose, is due out in March. If my reading keeps up at this pace, 2013 is going to be a banner year.
  • (5/5)
    Grisini, the puppet master, puts on a show at Clara’s house with the help of his two orphan apprentices and later that evening Clara goes missing. Grisini is suspected of her kidnap but Clara can’t be found and then Grisini disappears. It is the orphans, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, who manage to figure out what has happened to Clara.This book is set in a very authentic-seeming Victorian London and features believable and likeable characters along with some truly nasty villains. An historical novel that is part mystery, part adventure, part fantasy – this would appeal to tweens and teens.