Book ReviewA Tangle of Knots

Reviewer's Rating: 
I don't need my money back but I'm willing to prop a door open with this one.
Philomel Books, 2013

In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born.  And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever.  However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan.  If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost father.

The cover of this book immediately drew my interest and the synopsis sounded gentle, light and promised a happy ending = a potential great book for the youngest reader in my household.  But darn if it wasn't meh-ish as a whole.

Lisa, the author, has woven a very complex 'knot' of characters that all weave and cross over each other, under each other, beside each other and eventually converge to tie together at the end, but it makes for a confusing read.  There are 13 characters that we have to keep straight in our heads and when they all start as loose ends it is a challenge to line them up in your mind from chapter to chapter with their minor story progressions.

Overall it is a nice, light, interesting read - kudos on an original idea with the various 'Talents' that our characters have, but it failed to be a grand slam even with the happy ending.  To my thinking, this means I didn't connect strongly enough with one or more characters to feel that elation for them at the end.  Too many characters diluted that sense of connection and made it a watered down conclusion for me in feeling.  If Lisa had kept to a tighter knit of characters I think this book could very easily have matched my initial high expectations.

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