Publish Date: October 2, 2012
Source: The lovely Heidi :]
One night when Liza went to bed, Patrick was her chubby, stubby, candy-loving, and pancake-loving younger brother, who irritated and amused her both, and the next morning, when she woke up, he was not. In fact, he was quite, quite different.
When Liza's brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The Spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his mind.
She knows, too, that she's the only one who can save him.
To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with litle more thn her wits and a broom. There, she uncvers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and overexcitable nids...as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the Spindlers' nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests -- or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.
I’m sad to say I was a tad disappointed by The Spindlers, but I think that’s completely due to the fact that I idolize Miss Oliver. It really was a cute, quick adventure. That’s another thing: it took me a little over two days to finish when it really should’ve taken me a couple hours. Not the book’s fault, of course, but it didn’t exactly add to my enjoyment.
I found the writing to be a bit off at times. It was rather whimsical and childish in the way of repeating and odd grammar choices, but that doesn’t really mean it’s bad. In fact, I often like that kind of writing in my middle grade, but I think I wasn’t in the right mood for it this time around.
I rather appreciated Liza’s commitment to finding Patrick. She didn’t once think “well Patrick can be a bit annoying at times…” or “maybe I’d like being an only child…” She traveled through dangerous situation after dangerous situation to save her admittedly annoying brother. I also quite liked the fact that she went Below scared out of her wits. She didn’t go charging in all brave and awesome (which is cool in its own right, of course) but instead kept pushing on again and again despite her fears.
I definitely have to hand it to Oliver on her crazy world-building, though. The world Below is crazy and wonderful and awesome. I mean, we have creatures that protect us and give us dreams; troglods who are kind of like gnomes but steal little trinkets from homes like socks and glasses; glowworms who act as lighting for the underground world; and of course, the creepy and disturbing Spindlers themselves. I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin it, but I’m definitely left wondering where Oliver comes up with these things!
The Nutshell: I didn’t enjoy The Spindlers as much as I’d hoped, but I think it’s my fault, really. In fact, I may revisit Liza’s story one day to see if I enjoy it more. And though I may not have enjoyed it as much as I could have I did still enjoy it. It’s a quick, fun read if you’re looking for a fantastically imagined world and a good adventure.
Rating: Near Miss/Hit