Thursday, April 12, 2012

Talina in the Tower by Michelle Lovric

Savage hyena-like creatures threaten Venice - the Ravageurs are on the prowl and seizing men, women and children. On the night of 30 June 1846 Talina's parents disappear and she and her cat, Drusilla, are forced to go and live with her Guardian and his three savage dogs in his lonely tower in the northernmost edge of the city. Here she discovers that she has the ability to change herself into a cat, but changing herself back into a girl isn't quite so easy. As a cat she learns about the Ravageurs and how over the centuries they have become semi magical creatures, visible only to children in the human world, and that they are intent on destroying Venice. She is determined to save the city - it's time for desperate measures - and her adventures are about to begin.


I was especially pleased to learn about this book, not only because I adore Italian historical fiction, but because it is aimed towards the youth market. The beautiful cover art drew me to it even more and made reading it a true pleasure. It is a wonderful book to introduce history and fantasy to an avid young reader. Girls especially will love it, but so will boys. 

Reading Talina in the Tower was a lovely experience that took me back to those summer days when I was a kid, devouring one book after another. With a touch of history and a sprinkling of magic set in a spectacular backdrop, this was a lovely book to read and enjoy. It is the tale of a bold girl whose parents are missing. She is forced to live with an evil guardian who writes books about children who meet tragic ends, but she is determined to persevere and sets out in search for her parents. Born with the ability to read two books simultaneously, Talina accidently turns herself into a cat while reading a magic book and recipe at the same time.  And then a magical adventure begins filled with fascinating characters, terrible creatures, and a very nasty villain.

To say this story is wonderfully creative would be an understatement. It is more than that – vivid, believable, well written, and heart-wrenching. Despite the eclectic collection of creatures and people, it makes sense and is believable. They seem real and leaped off the pages as I read along. The adventure quest took me from one set of troubles to the next, always keeping those pages turning.

This novel is aimed at the young adult market, but can be enjoyed by adults as well because the prose and story is rich and not overly simplified. From the beauty of its breath-taking cover to the wonderfully emotional tale told with spell-binding prose, this is a treasure of a book I’ve placed lovingly on my collector’s shelf – one to keep and pass on to the next generation of children in my family.


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