Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock

In the Wishing World, dreams are real. You can transform into your own hero, find wild and whimsical friends, and wield power as great as your imagination. But Lorelei doesn't know about any of that. All she knows is that a monster took her family.

It happened during a camping trip one year ago. Hiding inside the tent, she saw shadows, tentacles and a strange creature. By the time she got up the courage to crawl outside, the monster--and Lorelei's mom, dad, and brother--were gone.

Lorelei is determined to find her family. When she accidentally breaks into the Wishing World, she discovers a way. It's a land more wonderful than she could have imagined, a land of talking griffons, water princesses, and cities made of sand, where Lorelei is a Doolivanti--a wish-maker--who can write her dreams into existence.

There's only one problem: the monster is a Doolivanti, too. What he wishes also comes true, and he's determined to shove Lorelei out, keep her family, and make the whole Wishing World his. To save them, Lorelei must find the courage to face him, or her next wish may be her last.

Rating: 2 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of this novel attracted me because the wish fulfillment aspect has always been appealing. Even with the vast amount of power that you would think comes along with that gift, it's never as simple as it appears to be. When Lorelei has to use her newfound abilities to save her kidnapped family from the Ink King, a mysterious creature that has the same powers she does, it sounds like I as the reader am in for a good adventure.

I found this not to be the case, though, at least not entirely. The beginning of the book starts off rather rapidly. A lot of the establishing action has happened already: Lorelei losing her parents and brother, refusing to accept that they're dead like everyone else in her life does, etc. She is thrust into the Wishing World by accident, but still very quickly. I didn't really have time to get to know her as a character.

What bothered me about her in particular in the beginning was that I couldn't get a grasp on her age and thus couldn't accurately picture her in my head or in this narrative. As a middle grade novel heroine, I'd expect her to be around twelve or so, but there were ways that she spoke and acted that made it seem like she could be anywhere between twelve and sixteen. Then, just when I thought that perhaps she was older, she'd go back and do something else that was quite childish. It made it a roller coaster ride of trying to figure out Lorelei the character.

As for the story line itself, I tried very hard to get into it because, as stated above, the idea of a story about wish fulfillment and it not being as easy as one would think is very appealing. Even when Aladdin got the genie (phenomenal cosmic powers and all that), he still had a lot of problems, some of which stemmed from not knowing how to handle said power. The plot and pacing of The Wishing World, though, felt a bit all over the place. One minute there'd be so much action I didn't know where to look; the next minute it would drag and I would find myself metaphorically checking my watch and wondering how much longer the book would take to read. It wasn't a well planned rise and fall of action to my mind, like an enjoyable story ought to be, so the fun was taken out of this book for me.

I can't say I'd really recommend this book strongly, but I wouldn't warn people away from it actively either. There may well be some readers that enjoy the chaos more than I would have and to them I wish the best of reading time.

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