Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Copper Girl

Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara's dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

First things first, the copper raven up there is in the wrong spot--Sara describes it as a tramp stamp so that's a bit high (and for anyone who has the paperback version, the picture of Micah on the back cover has his silver tattoos pretty much on point I think).  As for the book itself...the narrative took some getting used to.  The best way I can describe it is like this: Sara is telling the story to someone (its in first person POV).  Just like in any story being told, the teller will digress or add in tidbits to help the listener understand why this or that piece of the story is important, while in the middle of telling the story.  Provost did this a lot.

It made reading awkward at times because Sara would get into the middle of the 'present' action and suddenly it would divert into the first time her older brother Max tried to teach her (and their younger sister Sadie) magic.  It felt like info-dumps and read like info-dumps.  Sometimes interesting information, but a good percentage would than be organically built into the story later on.  Her father's disappearance, Max's disappearance, Sadie's studious nature--Sara would explain this all to us, but a couple chapters later we would read about it again in a much more genuine manner.

What I did like was that Sara wasn't quite the pushover she begins the story as.  Once you untangle the narrative to figure out the history of the world, it becomes quickly apparent that Sara plays the peon to avoid bringing the consequences down on what's left of her family.  She's quick to decisions, which is both a strength and a weakness.  And once I learned why she was so tetchy about trusting Micah, it made a lot more sense why she reacted as she did.

Let me talk about Micah for a second.  This guy.  Other than the aggravating use of 'My Sara' constantly, he's pretty awesome.  The one time he is at all jerky he has every right to be.  Sara basically threw him under the bus by not giving him all the necessary information, which in turn hurt her position as well.  I'm uncertain why that scene with the Iron Queen had to occur since the solution Sara comes upon could have just as easily been something Micah could have mentioned. 

This is the beginning of the series, but the end felt a bit more hurried than it should have.  The end result of the stand off comes not because of cleverness on Sara or Micah's part, but because of a whimsy of another character who took a shine to Sara.  Its difficult to imagine that if this character hadn't shown up, things would have turned out so well.

I'm intrigued by the world and Maeve (Sara's mother) certainly proved herself more interesting than her first impression.  There's a couple mysteries left to solve, as well as a promise Micah makes that had me grinning (I'm not sure Sara found it quite as amusing), so the next book should be interesting as a follow up.  In all worth reading and checking out.