Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Strings of the Violin

Author: Alisse Lee Goldenberg
Originally Published: 2011
Publisher: iUniverse
Source: Purchased at FanExpo 2012

The Story

Strings of the ViolinFrom the back of the book:

Seventeen-year-old Carrie is lying in her backyard ignoring all the looming responsibilities in her life, when a fox makes a mad dash across the grass in front of her. After she managers to keep her dog from attacking the frightened animal, the fox turns to Carrie and seems to bow in gratitude before he disappears into the bushes. All Carrie knows in that moment is that something has unexpectedly changed in her life.

Carrie has been best friends with Lindsay Smith and Rebecca Campbell for years. During a summer when they should be focused on choosing colleges and career paths, the girls suddenly find themselves swept away on the adventure of their lives. The fox reappears three days later and reveals to Carrie that he is Adom, emissary to the king of Hadariah. With his land of music and magic in peril, Adom has been sent to seek help from Carrie and her friends. In the blink of an eye, the three teenage girls go from living an average suburban life to being the champions of a world where they must contend with giants, witches, and magical beings.

On their quest to save a people from destruction, Carrie, Lindsay and Rebecca are pitted against Asmodeus, the powerful and cunning king of the dybbuks. Now, only time will tell if the three girls will prevail against Asmodeus and somehow find their way back home.

The Response

I picked this book up at FanExpo last year, as the author had a table in Artist’s Alley. A story about three girls going on a quest to save a kingdom in a magical world? Count me in!

This certainly served as a good fantasy story. There is a lot of adventure, a lot of magical creatures, and ways to travel from our world to this magical land – something I am always a sucker for! While there were a lot of tropes that can be found in other similar fantasy novels, there was also a lot about it that felt fresh and unique, and I think this has to do with the way the author seemed to get inspiration from folklore that I am completely unfamiliar with.

I wish I had enjoyed this book a lot more than I did. While the story itself was very good, I am personally very much a character-driven reader. Unfortunately, the main characters all came across as one-dimensional, and this came across as a little frustrating. The three girls always seemed to feel or do things in extremes – for example, they were either panicking or calm, but you didn’t really see any of the feelings in between these two states. When it came to the characters, there was a lack of that subtlety that really makes you look deeper into who they are, and I quite missed that.

What I really liked about this book was that it served as an introduction to Jewish folklore for me. I was familiar with who some of the people mentioned where from back when I was a Christian, but didn’t know the actual stories that were being told. That said though, there was also a lot I had no familiarity with – for example, I’ve never come across stories of Asmodeus or dybbuks before, and yet the stories about both were central to the journey the three girls were going on. The Strings of the Violin has certainly made me more curious about Jewish mythology and I will definitely be looking out for more books that focus on this type of mythology.

The Bottom Line

Personally, I’m disappointed I didn’t enjoy The Strings of the Violin more, but if you’re looking for an enjoyable plot-driven fantasy novel, this might be a good fit for you.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:49 am January 30, 2013.
Category: YA Fantasy
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