Friday, August 12, 2016

Things Are Not What They Seem

Title: Things Are Not What They Seem
Authors: Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy
Pages: 268
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Source: Received from the authors in exchange for an honest review
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It's just your typical, hot summer day in Central Park when a strange pigeon lands next to Jennifer as she sat watching her younger brother. To her complete bewilderment, the pigeon spoke to her (in nothing less than a posh British accent). Moments later, a hawk threatens Jennifer and the pigeon. And so begins a mad chase across the city as Jennifer tries to help the pigeon regain his human body and escape the evil, talking hawk.

This book had its ups and downs for me. Let's start with the ups.

The story was hilarious, engaging, and fun. The characters were unique, and each had an individual personality. The character of the speaking pigeon was a humorous little bird, leaving me laughing upon multiple occasions. And the other characters involved in the story: Jenny's brother James, James' friend Sleepy, and Jenny's friend Kaytlyn all brought interesting things to the story. 

And I thought the story itself was an interesting one. The plot wasn't completely predictable, and I did feel emotionally connected to the characters and what happened to them. Something else I really enjoyed was Jenny's passion for Latin. A now extinct language, it's not exactly a normal hobby for a young middle school girl. Recently, Emma @emmmabooks on YouTube uploaded her #WENEEDDIVERSEHOBBIES video. In this creative video she talks about how the majority of main characters in stories don't have interesting, diverse hobbies. It's all the same stuff, and usually plays an enormous role in the plot. Seeing someone so passionate about something so unique was really refreshing, and reminded me of Emma's video. (So check it out if you haven't!) 

However, I must say that a few things annoyed me. Firstly, parts of the story seemed way too easy. I hated how some things just came together out of pure luck. I'd be more okay with it if it had only been a couple times that events were a little too convenient, but it seemed like every potential challenge was evaded because the characters lucked out. 

Another small annoyance was how everybody was convinced the talking pigeon was a ventriloquism act! I'm sorry, but there's no way for it to be ventriloquism if the pigeon is 12 feet away and nobody's lips are parted. I get that the authors were trying to make people disbelieving of something that shouldn't exist, but literally every single person was assuming it was ventriloquism when it's honestly more likely that the pigeon is actually talking. It just got so annoying how nobody would accept that the pigeon was talking. 

Other than the stated problems with the novel, I did enjoy it. I thought it was funny, fast moving, and unique, and I'd recommend it to anyone seeking a fun, light, middle grade fantasy! 

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