Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am reviewing a fun children's release, Return of the Vinetropes by Sherry Ross. I have my review copy to give away to one lucky follower. To enter the contest fill out the rafflecopter form below. If you don't see it click, 'read more'.
Lucinda is like a fairy, but doesn't fly. Her people were on Earth many Ice Ages ago and wherever they live, their energy cleans and renews the Earth. The two squirrel brothers have heard of another Vinetrope, but far away from their current location. Owletta takes on the job of flying South and finding the other Vinetropes.
At Sara's home, Lucinda is warmly welcomed and soon Sara's entire family and close friends know about her and her quest to find her people. Working together, they hope to get Lucinda to her people and avoid discovery by the Vinetropes enemies, the fungus grown Chargons and the Vinkali.
This is a fantastical story full of original ideas and an entire new species of characters. I love the idea of Vinetropes that the author has created. They are plants, not animals, yet they appear human, though 12 inches tall. Because they are plants, they are able to produce clean energy and also heal the world with their Vinetrope waters. Lucinda is special. She is a Glower and because of her plant make-up, she is able to hold the memory of her people stored in all the different parts of her body, like a computer.
Vinetropes are born fully grown and clothed, but as we find out when Lucinda has a baby grow from a bulb on her head, during special circumstances they can be born as babies. Their presence also has an affect on animals around them, gifting them with speech and reading abilities.
I found this whole concept unique and original. The story is fun and you really get into Lucinda and her quest to find others of her kind. Before I forget, there are also amazing illustrations throughout which I found a nice addition.
I do have a couple critiques. The first is that this is a really long book for middle graders, over 450 pages. I would have loved to see it broken into several books, however, this is book one is a series, so I have no idea how many books that would have made the entire series. Still, young readers might have a hard time if they don't break up their reading.
Next, there are several Point of View switches. Entire chapters told suddenly from Owletta's perspective, or mid chapter changes flashing into the minds of one of Sara's friends or family. Also, I had a hard time with size and spacial relationships. Vinetropes are only 12 inches tall, and yet Sara, a 12 year old girl, is able to fit inside Lucinda's home in a rock wall comfortably. Just how big and wide is this wall? How is Sara able to sit on Lucinda's bed and how big must the final village of Vinetropes be for Sara to be able to walk within their underground town? Also, some of the dialogue just doesn't fit the characters.
I have to give the author kudos for her original take on fairies and the up and coming bad guys she has created. We get a peek at the Chargons and Vinkali in the last chapter and their coming means trouble. Also, I see the clean energy that the Vinetropes' possess leading to great things. Kids looking for something new and creative will enjoy this book. I am giving it 3.5 stars!
a Rafflecopter giveaway