Hello fellow bookworms!
At the start of the year I announced that I had joined a book club (#TsundokuSquad) and today I am sharing our groups thoughts on our second read of the year. After not enjoying our first read we hoped our next choice would tick all the right boxes. For February we chose to read Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale.
Title: Paris By Starlight
Author: Robert Dinsdale
Goodreads Rating: 3.83
#TsundokuSquad Average Rating:
Every city has its own magic…
Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight.
And with every story that Levon’s grandmother tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…
Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon.
But not everyone in Paris is won over by the spectacle of Paris-by-Starlight. There are always those that fear the other, the unexplained, the strangers in our midst. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war?
A few members of our group have read and loved The Toymakers (also by Robert Dinsdale) so when we saw his latest release on offer we all decided to make it our next club read. The Book was split into four ‘books’ so we decided to read a book a week and discuss our thoughts as we went along.
From the first week we had a very mixed bag of thoughts. Some of us loved it and couldn’t wait to read on others were really struggling. We all agreed that the descriptions were beautiful and we loved the imagery that the author painted. Some of us felt that the story could of done with some sort of timeline so we knew roughly when everything was taking place. We all had thoughts about where the story was going but it was too early to say for definite how things would play out. We loved Levon’s grandmother and how wise she was but we were all a little unsure about Isabelle and Levon, separately and as a couple.
Week two brought more descriptions which again some of us loved, such as the underground cavern, whilst others were starting to tire of the constant imagery and phrases such as ‘By the stars’. We all loved the snippets of the nocturne at the start of each ‘book’ and the magical elements were beautiful. We were also starting to get more hints about the timeline which helped. The Night of the Seven Stars was my favourite part of the read that week, I thought the different culture was interesting and again the author had painted a vivid picture in my imagination.
For most of us week three was our favourite part of the book. There was action, drama, more to sink our teeth into. We still weren’t too sure about Levon and Isabelle. Whilst Isabelle had some lovely qualities she just seemed to be too much of a doormat. Levon was starting to annoy us a little, his constant dithering and inability to stand up for himself was getting tiring and we hoped he would change towards the end. Alexandre’s story was a little predictable, whilst it provided a different side of the argument some of us had guessed what would happen to him earlier on. Haek was probably the most interesting character and as predicted he was starting to cause a lot of trouble. We all felt this story was taking a refugee/moral route and was turning into a lesson about culture, we weren’t too sure how we felt about that. With so many themes already explored we didn’t know if this was going to be too much.
By the end of the book most of us were sitting at a 3 with a few at 2 and a couple more at 4. When asked to sum the book up in three words magical, descriptive, whimsical and flowery were thrown out there along with slow, underwhelming, predictable and frustrating. We all agreed that we loved the magical element running throughout we just could of done without the romance and made it more about the nocturne. The final part of the book played out how we predicted and whilst there was plenty of drama and action it felt almost anticlimactic. There were lots of different ideas running throughout; romance, refugee, two absent fathers, revenge, culture, rebellion, to name a few. Rather than focusing on one or two aspects the whole lot were thrown in which made it a slower and harder read.
Overall we felt this was a step up from our previous read and we definitely preferred it. We are all hoping that our next book, The Islanders by S.V. Leonard will be a crowd pleaser.
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