I know, I know... I'm supposed to be reading adult fiction... but I can't help myself. The Young Adult collection is so great! Some of the best-written fantasy out there is in the YA section... but you probably already knew that.
Cornelia Funke (pronounced foon-keh) is German. Her books have been translated into English. This one is set in Venice, one of my least favorite cities. (I know this is supposed to be a review -- not a story about me -- but it's my blog and I'll talk about me if I want to.) I've been there twice. The first time it wasn't bad, but it was August, and I do remember the smell. The second time, I got there 24 hours before I boarded my first cruise ship, and they lost my luggage somewhere in Chicago. So for 24 hours, I puttered around the narrow, confusing alleys trying to find anything cheap that fit. In Venice, this is an impossible task for me (not for my travelling companion, a svelte dance teacher, who could wear anything... but I digress). So my memories of the city are not pleasant, and as Simon Jones (the talented narrator of this particular audio book) led me into the smelly city, I resisted.
But, oh... now I want to visit again. Runaway orphaned boys trying to escape their evil aunt (who only wants to adopt the younger, cute one), a mysterious older boy who calls himself "The Thief Lord," a detective with two pet turtles, and a magical merry-go-round... you just can't go wrong. Although there is clearly some Dickensian influences, it is not nearly as depressing or trudging as the old master can be. The story is long enough to be satisfying and short enough that you aren't investing more time to it that to, say, a trashy romance novel. And the descriptions of the alleys and canals and bridges and people... *sigh* BRAVA, Cornelia!
Since I listened to the audio, I should comment on the narration. BRILLIANT! *clink* Simon Jones is an accomplished actor, and his voices are really perfect. The unabridged book was 7 CDs and the pace of the storytelling was fantastic. No complaints.
Okay, okay... I know I need to return to adult fiction. The next review you see will probably be for Harry, then The Traveller (yay adult, boo book). I'm also trudging through Disney War, which is fascinating, but loooooooooooooooooong and very, well... well, it was written by a reporter, and it does, indeed, read like one long newspaper article. A 1,000 page newspaper article. Bleh.
In the hopper, I have way too many books... have no idea which one I'll pick up next... although I am looking at my new copy of Dearly Devoted Dexter, and it is calling to me... (see my Coming Soon post from mid June if you don't remember this title.)