Skip to main content

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

I will admit it: sometimes I see things on NetGalley and think cute cover, MG fantasy, I want. And don't even read the synopsis. Particularly if the book is from a publisher whose books I typically like. Such was the case with Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. Then I began reading and discovered it was a retelling of "The Snow Queen". And it was good. 

Synopsis:
Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.
As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.


As a heroine, Ophelia shines. Her greatest strength is that she is a normal little girl. She has no particularly special talents. She enjoys science and is curious. But for the most part she is just a quiet little girl with asthma who is mourning the death of her mother. When she stumbles on the Marvelous Boy and he requests her help to save the world, she scoffs. But she remembers her mother, who wrote stories of the dark and fantastic. Her curious mind won't let her leave well enough alone. And she becomes a heroine. I love stories like this, a story any person can imagine themselves in. Kids love these sort of stories too and will have no problems finding a part of themselves in Ophelia. She is in every way an ordinary ten year old girl. The Marvelous Boy is mysterious. His name is hidden to give him a way to return home. He has waited 300 years in captivity for Ophelia to turn up and help him. His back story is told by him to Ophelia within the mainframe of the story. His story reads like a traditional fairy tale and does involve quite a bit of exposition, but is told in short bursts so as to maintain the interest of the reader. 

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is a quick read, with a tight plot. Foxlee keeps the story moving at a quick pace. All the action occurs within three days, other than the Boy's story.  As a retelling of "The Snow Queen" the novel excels in many ways. Ophelia has a series of quests she must go on in order to free the Boy. These all occur within the confines of the museum curated by a woman who is cold and remote. During these quests Ophelia encounters help she never could have imagined and is attacked by various minions of the Snow Queen, causing her to be intimidated at times but she never gives up. The one big difference is the motivation of Ophelia. Since she only just met the boy, she is motivated by her curiosity, their developing friendship (rather than a longstanding one), and the love she feels for her father and sister (who is in danger). I would have liked a little more closure in the relationship between Ophelia and the Boy, but other than that it was a fully satisfying read.

This book is going to be an easy sell. With interest in "The Snow Queen" rising due to the movie Frozen, it won't be hard to get kids interested. Once they start reading, they will stay interested because the story will pull them in. It is also a book that will make an excellent read aloud for kids in younger grades. 

I read an e-galley made available by the publisher, Knopf Books for Young Readers, via NetGalley. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy will be available on January 28. 

Comments

Charlotte said…
I am glad you found it good! I will continue to anticipate it with anticipation.
Brandy said…
I think you will like it, Charlotte. There is a lot of exploring of old rooms and artifacts.
Brenda said…
This does sound really good, thanks for the review.
Brandy said…
It's a lovely read. Perfect for winter.

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

YA Book GIVEAWAY!!!

On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.