Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: The Adventures of Annie Marmalade: Quest for the Ronji Crystal

The Adventures of Annie Marmalade: Quest for the Ronji Crystal
Author: Julian Vaughan Hampton
Publisher: Vaughanworks
Series: N/A
Pages: 140 (approx.)
Genre: Children’s fiction
Release Date: Mid-December 2010
How Received: Author

Summary: When the sacred Ronji Crystal is taken to the Giants of the dark mountains, a little girl with a special gift is the only one who can return it.

The sacred Ronji Crystal has been taken from the magical town of Goodhaven. The Crystal holds a curse that prevents the Giants of the dark mountains from attacking the town. The king of Goodhaven sends his son, Prince Marion, to retrieve it. His request, take neither man, woman, nor boy with him. Prince Marion finds his solution in a small girl with a special gift. Annie Marmalade has the power to turn any item into a dessert. Prince Marion simply wants Annie to open the entrance to Debor. When the door slams shut, Annie Marmalade and Prince Marion are forced to work together to retrieve the crystal from the depths of Debor. Journeying through the tunnels of the dark mountains, they learn the secrets of Debor. Annie uses her gift to create desserts to battle King Ontross and his minions. She creates rivers of caramel, licorice lassos, and even gummy bears to help Prince Marion return the Ronji Crystal to Goodhaven. This, however, is just the beginning.

Follow this magical adventure as a little girl stands between hope and the threat from the dark mountains. 

My Thoughts:
The Adventures of Annie Marmalade was a delightfully charming tale of a young girl, Annie, who lives in Goodhaven. She feels left out because her gift – the ability to make delicious desserts – isn’t as conventional in society as her peers’ are. But when tragedy befalls Goodhaven and the Ronji Crystal is stolen, Annie steps up in the face of adversity to save her beloved Goodhaven and rescue the Ronji Crystal.

My first thought about this book was that it was cute, remarkable, unique, and innovative.
For being a children’s book, The Adventures of Annie Marmalade was wonderfully descriptive. I was a bit surprised at how flawlessly Julian weaved a tale of fantasy that was easy to grasp and be immersed in. The pacing was great and filled with action packed scenes and tons of adventure. There were hidden depths and themes in the novel, despite how relatively short it was. I loved the theme in which even the least remarkable person could be a hero.

Annie’s gift, and the way she uses it, is completely unique. It was fun seeing what different ways Annie would get out of a situation – I would have never thought up some of the innovative things that Julian thought up for her! For example, she uses taffy lasso to use as a rope and turns water into caramel to slow down the hounds that were hunting them. She used gummy bears to get rid of some giants that caught them in a tricky situation and bubble gum as a balloon. One thing is for sure: this book will get your sweet tooth craving some dessert!

The characters were enjoyable to read about and believable. Annie was charming and oh-so-cute. I absolutely loved it when she would shimmy and shake to make ordinary objects into desserts. She had a different outlook to life – where others were afraid, Annie was fearless; where others were wound up, Annie was carefree. Her way of thinking was so unique and definitely stood out. There was also the Prince, who is a great military leader but doubts his abilities on facing problems by himself. He’s a bit of a scaredy-cat, but learns to be brave in the face of danger.

My only complaint/wish is that it were longer – I didn’t want to stop reading about Annie’s adventures!

Cover Musings: Note- this isn’t the finished cover. I love the incorporation of the gummy bears! I hope the finished cover will include more of the delicious desserts Annie thought up of.

Memorable Quotes:
“Thanks... Dander. You saved my life. I owe you.”
“I know how you can repay me. No more calling me Fool.”
“No problem,” Lugo replied.
“You can call me by my secret name. I’ve always wanted to be called Dander the Daring.”
“I think I’ll find another way to pay you back.” (pg. 30)
The water turned into a river of caramel. The hounds pace slowed from running to walking. Soon, they sticky caramel held them in place. They tried to pull away, but weren’t able to. One hound tried to eat it, but his face became stuck in the caramel. (pg. 75)
“You don’t look fine,” said Annie.
“I’ve never seen anything come at me so fast. Those teeth... those eyes...”
She softly patted the prince on his back.
“It’s going to be ok. They’re just angry puppies.”
“Puppies? Is that what you think they are? Puppies? They are vicious animals. I didn’t think we would make it.” (pg. 76)
Looking at one another, the giants gave each other a sly smile. Moving slowly around the room, they surrounded the two intruders.
“Well, now we know what stinks. They need bath-time.” (pg. 85)
“Do something, Prince Marion!”
Prince Marion gently walked toward the giants.
“Excuse me, ah... giants. If we could just slide through you, we’ll leave you to your grunting and pillaging or whatever.” (pg. 85)
“I wish you no harm. I only wish to speak to you,” said the giant figure.
“Speak quickly, giant, or feel the wrath of my sword.”
Prince Marion’s sword slipped from his hand, clanging to the floor. (pg. 88)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: The Adventures of Annie Marmalade was definitely an enjoyable tale that would be loved by the entire family. It’s full of action and it’s interesting to see what unique ways Annie will come up with to pull Prince Marion and herself out of danger. I would recommend to this to anyone, really – children, adults, fantasy-lovers. I can't wait to read this to my niece!

Rating: 5/5

*I received a copy of The Adventures of Annie Marmalade from the author in exchange for an honest review. 


Jen (@ Jens Book Closet) said...

You had me at caramel! Okay, I'm seriously laughing! Out lout! She has a magical gift of making excellent desserts?! That should be my gift. Do you know how much I love desserts!!! Woe the yumminess I could create...although...I'd be a chunker. LOL! But seriously this book sounds super cute. I'm going to add it to my TBR. I think that the author of this book sounds like a genius.. .it's just so creative. Did I mention I love desserts *big grin*.

In the Closet With a Bibliophile

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Haha! I absolutely LOVE desserts as well! I would totally be Annie's best friend for the delicious desserts she makes! You have no idea how hungry I was while reading - I was craving some taffy and caramel like mad!

But yeah, this is a really, really cute book. Did I mention to make the desserts, she would scrunch up her nose, ball her fist, and shimmy and shake? It was cute just imagining it! I had to give major props to Julian for all the creativity that went into the novel and for thinking of the most bizarre ways to get out of a dangerous situation! (and for making me hungry!) :)

brandileigh2003 said...

Thanks for the review- I will have to give this one a chance.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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