When his grandfather dies, Mika inherits his great coat – and its treasure trove of secrets. In one hidden pocket, he discovers the puppet prince. Soon, Mika is performing puppet shows in even the darkest, most cramped corners of the ghetto, bringing cheer to those who have lost their families, those who are ill and those who are afraid for their future – until he is stopped by a German soldier and forced into a double-life of danger and secrecy.
The setup for this book is magnificent. The blurb made me very excited because, let’s be honest, it sounds amazing doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver for me.
This book has a 4.10 rating on Goodreads and, without wanting to sound mean, I don’t understand how that happened.
Mika’s story is an interesting one. It paints a detailed, gruesome picture of life in the ghetto of Warsaw. It was a horrible, horrible place and time and Mika, with the help of the puppets, tried to bring a smile to the many faces of the children who were in differing stages of starvation or illness.
Even when he meets Max, the German soldier, the story flows steadily.
Until everything ends for the ghetto, that’s when the story starts going south as well. It’s when I started noticing the repetition. The repetition of scenes, names, sentences,… It felt so messy. Like the writer lost track of what she was saying and repeated herself over and over again.
Then we changed point of view and started following Max. It felt forced and unfinished. I understand why she felt like she needed this part of the book but I’m sure she could have made it to the same ending without Max’s story. Although it was interesting in a way, I was annoyed by the constant quarrel. “Maybe we deserved what we got.” “I was only following orders.” It would have been an interesting argument but not when it’s repeated every other page and never really looked at in dept. Always the same thing, “I was only following orders.” Was Eva Weaver afraid that her readers wouldn’t believe her? Is that why she kept repeating it?
All in all, I wished she had sticked with Mika and fleshed out his story and the side characters a bit more. Maybe paid more attention to the writing too.
I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t like it.. let’s call it ‘neutral’ which in my rating results in three stars.
Well… you win some, you lose some. I knew that I wouldn’t like every single book I read for this project but I want to give as big of an overview as I can.
Better luck next time.