Egg & Spoon

Egg & Spoon

A Novel

Book - 2014 | First edition
Average Rating:
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In 1905 czarist Russia, an impoverished country girl Elena and the aristocratic Ekaterina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763680169
0763680168
9780763672201
0763672203
Branch Call Number: TEEN
Characteristics: 475 pages ; 23 cm
Alternative Title: Egg and spoon

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Cynthia_N Jul 22, 2015

Good story but it just did not pull me in.

JCLChrisK Dec 01, 2014

I quite enjoyed the story at the heart of this book and its central characters. As long as the narration was focused on the misadventures of Elena and Ekatarina, with their prince and pauper accidental reversal of roles in tsarist Russia, I found myself swept up in the tale. The secondary characters developed nicely into multi-dimensional people and all the characters experienced interesting growth. I especially enjoyed the way Maguire worked traditional Russian folklore into his story, with the figures of the firebird, the witch, and the ice dragon playing prominent roles.

However, the narrative voice itself did not work for me. I'm sure this is a matter of preference more than writing quality, but immediately from the series of false starts on the first few pages I took a dislike to the monk who narrates the book and his storytelling style. Every time he intruded on the story with his frequent thoughts, comments, and overblown prose, my teeth grated. My one other big gripe that keeps me from rating the book higher is the fact that Baba Yaga's constant anachronistic patter--that makes her seem imbalanced to the other characters and is meant to make her feel timeless and immortal to readers--is entirely composed of 21st-century jokes; were she truly timeless and immortal, her references would have come from all times instead of winkingly at the readers' time and place, so it made her ring false. Nitpicky, I know, but it bothered me.

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