Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review- Toads and Diamonds

Toads and Diamonds
By Heather Tomlinson
Published By Henry Holt and Co.

Summary (from Goodreads): Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.

It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.

Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?

Dislikes: While the author did a good job with the world building of the smaller places, like the wells or palace, I didn't feel the bigger picture was as well done. I'm a visual person and could have used a map at the front of the book. There is a lot of traveling and, since it wasn't an actual place, I needed more to go on to keep up.  

Likes: I enjoyed how the story was set up. It was told from  both sisters point of view, the chapters went back and forth between the sisters and their experiences.  Seeing both sisters learn that the blessings from their goddess may not be the blessing/curse they originally thought it was, was a great way to show their growth. Diribani learning that she is more than just the pretty one while also learning that her previous perceptions of the white-coats and their religion may not have been as accurate as she thought.  Tana, who has always been the strong one, learning to be strong and yet feel worthy of notice by others for something other than her strong personality.

Overall: I really enjoyed this book.  The growth of both sisters was done well and even though they were not in the same place through most of the book, it still blended together well and didn't feel as if you were reading two separate books.

Rating: 4

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