Monday, May 30, 2011

The Cadence of Gypsies by Barbara Casey

Title: The Cadence of Gypsies
Author: Barbara Casey
Publisher: Hungry Goat Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Grade: 72% or C-

On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.
The way that I read this book was a new experience for me. I started it months ago, but got sidetracked by books for school. Then..I forgot about it. I read a book or two from my reading pile before seeing it on a dusty pile of books (it really was dusty, it was my pile of books to giveaway. I completely forgot that I set it there). Fortunately, I was able to pick up where I left off. I finished the book on the last day of my Junior year of High School whilst sitting alone in my pre-calculus class.

The book itself wasn't very exciting. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it, but I couldn't connect with any of the characters. When something good or bad happens, I want to feel emotion, not just register the fact that it was positive or negative for that character. Part of the problem I think was the large amount of characters. Casey tried to pack so many headlining characters into one show. I barely got to know any of them, and I wish I could have. I just couldn't help but feel they were all very one dimensional.

I do give her props for research though. What she lacked with characters, she made up for with beautiful descriptions and a very nice plot. Though, I could have easily dealt without the love interest. It seemed very unnecessary and rushed. It didn't add to the plot at all for me, and came across as too convenient.

Oddly enough, I think I enjoyed reading about Lyuba's life and the way that the gypsies lived. I found it much more exciting than reading short tidbits of what the FIGS were thinking before bed.

Overall, I enjoyed the idea of the book, the descriptions of Italy, and the way that the gypsy culture was fleshed out. I would recommend this book to someone who is in the mood for a short read that will give them a nice little mystery to think through.

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