Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond

 Smudge's Mark by Claudia Osmond                                                                                                                                 Publisher: Simply Read Books                                                                                                                                                Hardcover, 384 pages  

Publisher's Blurb                                                                                                                                                                             Simon is an O.W.N.O. (Orphan with No Options). He lives with his deranged grandfather and a horrible housekeeper, Griselda, who punishes him by making him trim her toenails with his teeth.Unable to remember anything about his mother or father, Simon is haunted by a dream of an eagle, a serpent and an angel that smells like bubblegum. Then one night his dreams change. The angel gives him a special object--the broken half of an enchanted key--that is still with him when he wakes up. The key is desired by man, but destined only for him, and it will change his life forever.

My Thoughts                                                                                                                                                                                              In Smudge's Mark, debut novelist Claudia Osmond, skillfully weaves together several popular and well-loved elements of the fantasy genre with unique facets of her own, resulting in an altogether fascinating read.

The setting was brilliant and certainly one of the highlights of the story. The story shifts from the gloomy neighbourhoods of a dreary town, to the eerie Grimstown Academy for Orphans and finally to the enchanting otherworld of Emogen.  

I was completely enthralled by Claudia's genuine characters: from the self-conscious, stuttering Gil to the 'he's-so-bad-it's-good' villain, Mr. Ratsworth. The dialogue felt natural, the characters' personalities were distinct and their gradual transformation as the story progressed was both convincing and essential to the storyline.

In regards to the story itself, I was hooked from the beginning and I especially liked how the story's moments of humour and severeness were balanced in relatively equal parts. My only qualm with the plot in general is that I felt that there were still several questions left unanswered and although I don't expect or particularly care for every single plot detail to be tied up in the conclusion of a novel,I was still hoping to have a few more answers.
I'm crossing my fingers for a sequel as the ending of the novel seems to hint at because I'm eager to learn more about the fates of certain characters and discover the backgrounds of others.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading a story from a new and remarkable Canadian talent. I am eagerly awaiting Claudia's next work because it's stories like hers that remind me just why I can't get my head out of the children's section of a bookstore.
Fantastic story, I highly recommend it!

Overall Rating:    




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