Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014

There are times when you pick up a book and get completely sucked into the story, so much so, that when you finish the book you simply want to read it again and again. And then another time, just for good measure. And when it comes to ‘Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy’ by Karen Foxlee, I think some readers may feel this way once their done.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is a simple story that’s been told before. There’s a damsel in distress, a hero, and an evil witch who is bent on destroying the world. The hero must save the prisoner in order to defeat the witch and save the world. Save the prisoner. Save the world. You know that sort of thing. And with this sort of story, you know how it’s going to end. The hero is victorious and the world lives to see another day, at least until the next villain shows up. But the ending is never the important part. The important part is how the hero becomes stronger and grows as a character in order to succeed their mission.

With this novel, the same sort of premise is here as well. There’s Ophelia, the hero, who is currently staying at a hotel with her father and older sister, due to her father’s work at a museum. The museum is located in a strange place where there‘s always snow and the season never goes past winter. Everything is simply frozen in place, kind of like how Ophelia’s family is since the death of her mother.

While visiting the museum, which is where the majority of this novel takes place, Ophelia takes a wrong turn and ends up in a place that looks deserted. She’s drawn to the place, even though she knows she should be there. It’s there where she meets the Marvelous Boy, the damsel in distress of this story. He immediately asks for help, because he needs to find the Other One and the Sword in order to defeat the Queen. And, he only has three days.

Those time limits.

Ophelia is reluctant at first, because she doesn’t believe in things like ghosts, witches, and other supernatural hogwash, but she feels drawn to the Marvelous Boy and decides to do him a solid. I won’t mention what happens here, but watching Ophelia go through each trial to save the Marvelous Boy was fun to read and it added some nice depth to her character.

In terms of writing, I thought this was written beautifully, almost to the point where I felt like the narrator could be a character of their own. This is written in third person, so it’s not really like they were their own character, but while I was reading this I felt like someone was reading the book to me. I know this doesn’t make sense and as I wrote typed those words out even I didn’t really get it, but that’s how I felt while reading this.

I did love Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, but my only complaint would be that I wish the Marvelous Boy had more scenes. His story on how he lost his name and his background in general were interesting to read about, but I wanted more and never really got it.

Overall: This is a fantastic book and even though it’s marketed towards children, I think adults would love this book too. There are dark themes in this novel, so if you’re a parent you may want to read this first to see if it’s appropriate for your child, but if they’re into fairy tales, then this shouldn’t be too bad. And if you’re worried that this follows the same hero saves damsel and defeat the witch, then don’t be. There is a bit of a twist, that I won’t mention, but it’s a good one. And, if you’re nervous about reading a children’s book, then don’t be as well!

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy was provided by netgalley.

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