I did it again. I fell in love with another children’s book series. Over the years my love for children’s series hasn’t been a surprise to those who know me. They are always recommending me new series to read. And before you ask, it doesn’t bother me one bit to be a grown adult still reading from the MG or YA sections of the library.
M.L. Roble is a new author that I was recently introduced to by my friend Renee from Mother, Daughter Books. I was sort of skeptical because the title of her first book The Magician’s Doll didn’t capture me at first. And to be honest, I usually steer clear of books where the storyline is based around a circus. But as I read I fell in love with her style, her characters and her story. Below is my review of The Magician’s Doll by M.L. Roble.
Natalie is a 12-year old girl who has a hard time fitting in to her neighborhood. She’s constantly being harassed by a group of boys who make fun of her psychic mother, her eccentric neighbor and her dorky friend, Phillip. Recently, Natalie has begun to notice some changes within herself – like the fact that she knows her bully’s mother is sick or that Phillips dad, who disappeared a few years ago, is still alive.
When the circus rolls into town, Natalie meets up with a misfit group of friends including a doll that takes on human form, a grumpy midget and a circus magician. Shortly after the circus arrives, the town is surrounded by storms that make it impossible for it to move on. And then slowly one by one a few people start disappearing.
When Natalie is finally able to accept that she may be different from the other kids from her neighborhood, her world is opened up by the realization that her family and friends are part of a small community of people who seems to have special powers they can use to their advantage. The Great Bausoliel can make inanimate objects move, Phillip can travel through maps and the eccentric neighbor next door, who ends up being Natalie’s grandma, can manipulate what people perceive.
Natalie’s give is something that no one is expecting. And it makes her a prime target for two men who are slowly hunting down her people and taking their lives one by one so they take ownership of the others’ powers.
Now Natalie must come to grips with who she is and use her abilities to protect her friends and family from being destroyed by this manipulative evil mastermind.
This story was fantastic. It’s very “female Harry Potter” in that Natalie is 12 years-old, she has special abilities that not everyone is able to understand and she is the only one who seems capable of destroying the villain of the story. She also has a sorted past and her life is not black and white. I was completely taken in by the story and even missed a few blog deadlines because I couldn’t put it down long enough to write about something else.
My one critique, the prologue. I still don’t get it. I really didn’t understand what was going on in the very beginning when I first started reading. But now I really don’t understand what it was about. Are the magician and his son Martin and Sebastian? Is the one they let go Natalie or Serena? Maybe book two will explain better as there is no way Roble will get away with ending things where she did.
I highly recommend this to girls from ages 8 – 13 and their mothers as well. I think that boys will also enjoy the story as it is not necessarily gender-specific on the issues being dealt with. I also recommend this to adults who haven’t quite shed the kid in them yet. 5 stars for sure.
Do you still read children’s literature? If so, what authors do you like to read?