Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review: Ghoulish Song

Ghoulish Song (Zombay, #2)Author: William Alexander
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: Zombay # 2

A brave girl flees a ghoul while trying to save her town in this lively, fast-paced companion to National Book Award winner Goblin Secrets. Kaile lives in Zombay, an astonishing city where goblins walk the streets and witches work their charms and curses. Kaile wants to be a musician and is delighted when a goblin gives her a flute carved out of bone. But the flute’s single, mournful song has a dangerous consequence: It separates Kaile and her shadow. Anyone without a shadow is considered dead, and despite Kaile’s protests that she’s alive and breathing, her family forces her to leave so she can’t haunt their home.

Kaile and her shadow soon learn that the troublesome flute is tied to a terrifying ghoul made from the bones of those who drowned in the Zombay River. With the ghoul chasing her and the river threatening to flood, Kaile has an important role to play in keeping Zombay safe. Will Kaile and her shadow be able to learn the right tune in time?

Set in the delightful and dangerous world of Goblin Secrets, Ghoulish Song is a gripping adventure laced with humor and mystery from National Book Award–winning author William Alexander.

The last day of Kaile’s life did not start well.

Music ties knots, and unties them, he had told Kaile. Think about a lullaby, one that ties up the world to make it a safe place for sleeping. It doesn’t just convince the child – it convinces the world. Think about a funeral song. It can untie the string we use to hold our grief and let it all spill out. The same song, the very same song, can tie us back together again after we’ve spilled out.

“You don’t have a shadow,” the Snotfish said. “Only the dead don’t have shadows.”

The shadow’s whisper faded, sounding embarrassed and barely audible. I’ve only ever stood near you. That’s all I know how to do. That’s the only place I know where to be. I’d rather not. But I don’t know where else to go. And it’s dark outside.

William Alexander’s, Ghoulish Song, is a fascinating middle grades book with enough adventure to satisfy any adult. What I love about this book so much is that it isn’t necessary to read the first story in this series to understand what is going on. Although I did read the first book in this series, I just enjoyed this one more! Kaile’s story is a wonderful one and following her adventures leaves me incredibly worn out. Kaile dreams of becoming a great musician just like her Grandfather, but her mother wants her to take over the bakery and run it as successfully as she does some day. Kaile gets mixed up with a little dark magic in this exciting tale and like always she finds herself in trouble and on a crazy, wild, breathtaking adventure!

I loved the world known as Zombay, this magical place where Kaile and all of her friends and family reside. Both of the books focus around different aspects of the city and the world unravels more and more the deeper that we get into the series. This book is such a fast read and so easy to read and that makes William’s world building all the more impressive. He unveils this amazingly magical world, all in a short period of time. Parts of this world are a little uncertain and every bit as curious as I hoped it would be. William crafts the world in a way that is not too scary for children, but is mystifyingly creepy for those who can read between the lines.

Kaile’s shadow becomes a major character in this story, as it detaches away from her body. I thought this was extremely clever and it’s not something I have read or seen since Peter Pan. Kaile’s shadow had a mind all its own, and this is where all the trouble stems from. All the magic happens once her shadow is no longer attached to her body. I was surprised and amused at how easily Alexander infused the shadow into the story, and made it stand alone. By the end of the book I had to look down at myself, and then to the wall, to make sure I was still casting my own shadow!

***Thank you to the publishers at Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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