Princesses, Knights, Shakespeare and The White Rabbit. The Book Jumper, Mechthild Gläser.

I was so close to buying a copy of this brand new in Waterstones a few weekends ago and I’m thrilled that I resisted the temptation because two days later I realised I could get the ebook free from the library *tiny victory dance*. This concept drew me in (who wouldn’t want to jump into books?) but how did the book itself fare?

Goodreads Summary:

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.
Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.

Scotland is almost always a wonderful setting for a story. I’ve only ever been as north as Edinburgh but I’m planning to go out to more rural Scotland at some point in the future, I’d love to make it all the way out to the Hebrides but I’m not great in the cold so perhaps not without very large wooly jumpers! I thought that Gläser captured the essence of Scotland quite well, I certainly felt the crags and the grit of the place in her writing. What I think may have been a bit lacking in the setting was a sense of scale, I couldn’t really tell you now how large an area in which the events of the book took place. I just had no idea of scale. It’s nitpicking but it is just a small thing that would have helped to ground me, the reader, in the world while we were also exploring the fictional world.

I thought the plot was well conceived. I liked the idea of book jumping and you can tell that concept was really what drove the creation of this book. What I didn’t feel was that Gläser went far enough with her ideas. If you’re going to bring in an ancient war between clans then make it worth the time, really build the tension between characters don’t just have them be slightly annoyed at each other. If you’re going to foreshadow events with snippets from a forgotten fairytale make those snippets extra sinister or don’t use them?

I’m sounding extra critical but it’s just because this book has the potential to be amazing and instead it is just good. It is good though. I thought that the villain/threat was handled in an interesting way, that the romance was realistic and not overly ‘insta-love’ and that there were multiple ways the story could have gone that kept me on my toes.

Our main character Amy is a well-read, feisty young girl with a history of being bullied (that never really gets pulled up in the big way I was expecting) but she’s far less insipid than many a YA character has been in the past and doubtless will be again. I also liked reading about the side characters, the grandmother, the monk guardians of the library and the other book jumpers. If we’re talking a sequel (which I don’t think we are?) then those are the characters I want to know more about.

I do think this book is worth reading. It’s an interesting concept and it’s well written, I just wish it had been pushed to the extreme, the whole thing feels a little bit ‘playing it safe’ which is understandable but disappointing. I am glad that I managed to get my hands on a copy as it was an entertaining read but I’m a little glad I didn’t spend my pennies.

My rating: 4/5 stars (Because this isn’t a bad book, I really did enjoy it, I promise!)

Have you read this? Am I being overly harsh? Let’s talk about it! Comment below or tweet me @judithcmoore. Can’t wait to hear from you!

J

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow…it’s Top Ten Tuesday!

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