Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Flora Segunda (Ysabeau S. Wilce)

Flora Segunda (Flora Trilogy, #1)
Title: Flora Segunda
SubtitleBeing the Magical Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog
Series: Flora Trilogy #1
Author: Ysabeau S. Wilce
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date:
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Content Rating: Younger Young Adult (minor language, violence, scary situations)
Format Read: ARC
Find On: Goodreads

Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall--the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. Huge mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler--and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever. Full of wildly clever plot twists, this extraordinary first novel establishes Ysabeau Wilce as a compelling new voice in teen fantasy.

*          *          *

I describe it as... So You Want to Be a Wizard meets Howl's Moving Castle.

Writing: A little too carefree for my usual tastes, but not too childish that I lost interest. Relatively easy to follow.

Setting: I have absolutely no idea what the setting is. My closest guess was alternate historical Scotland with magical and modern elements. I was lost through the entire book, constantly guessing and then being proven wrong by another mention of café au lait and the like. But it was unique and fun and I didn't mind so very much spending my time with Flora in it. Whatever it was.

Story: This is a story of adventure and a true testament to the "try/fail cycle" that every good book should have a handful of. But instead of "try/fail" cycles, this book has "try/fail miserably, despair, repeat" cycles. With each turn Flora digs herself deeper and deeper into a hole she cannot possibly climb back out of - and not just her, but everyone involved. But just as all is lost (and I really do mean all), the book concludes with a most uplifting and satisfying ending. This story will take you for a ride, but one of the best kind.

Characters: Flora is a spunky young lady who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty in the name of adventure, and you couldn't help but root for her in all her schemes. I didn't think much would come of her companion Udo, but I was proven wrong halfway through the book and it was fun to have him along for the ride - and sometimes leading the charge. The rest of the motley cast of characters ranged from fantastical to family, and each one was colorful (some extremely so, being purple or blue) and entertaining.

Favorite Bit(s): The cover - so pretty - and the end. I love a good, happy ending, especially after such horrible failure and despair. I haven't read a book like this in such a long time and it was so very refreshing.

Comments: When the book came out in 2007, I thought it was about a girl who gets lost in her own house and wanders the entire book trying to find the way out. While this sounded fascinating, I read the first few lines and then never touched it again. Imagine my surprise when I finally picked it up and discovered it was entirely not what I had imagined - and a happy discovery it was. Although the voice wasn't quite what I like, it was a fun and engaging read that had me giddy with adventure, depressed with despair, and tingling with the warm fuzzies at the end. I did not think I would look into the other two books, but now I think I might quite enjoy them.

Recommend?: Definitely.

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles

1 comment:

  1. This sounds absolutely enchanting and something I would probably love! Thanks for the review Skye. Adding to my never-ending list. ;)