Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Review: How to Make a Golem and Terrify People

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: How to Make a Golem and Terrify People
Author: Alette Willis
Publisher: Floris Books
Pages: Paperback; 224
Release Date: November 17, 2011
Source: NetGalley
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade
Content Screening: Nothing of note
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Middle grade readers who love adventures, and older readers who love a good story.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / Librarything
"You think you're a fairy godmother or something?" I asked. 
"Or something," Michael agreed. 

Edda is tired of her nickname, 'Mouse', and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her twelfth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school. There's something peculiar -- and very annoying -- about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can't bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they?

How to Make a Golem and Terrify People made me smile a lot. That's saying something, since right before reading this I was in a bit of a reading slump. I just don't know how you can feel down when adorable Scottish children are romping about on the pages of a book, getting into all sorts of mischief and mayhem. Add in a little bit of alchemy and a few life lessons, and you have a story that is a great read.

Edda was such a sweet young protagonist. Although her character wasn't quite as vivid as I would have liked her to be, she definitely held her own. For Edda life is about familiarity. She's comfortable with her warm, loving home and her best friend. Then, on her twelfth birthday, Edda's life is turned upside down when a her home is burgled. It was easy for me to see how violated and scared she felt. From this point on the reader is treated to a view of Edda's transformation from "mouse" to "Edda the Brave".

The story line is simple enough in this middle grade adventure. All that Edda wants is to be braver. What she soon learns is that being braver simply means learning to believe in yourself. With the help of her friends, one old and one new, she faces her fears and learns to tame them. My one gripe was simply that, as adorable as they were, the characters weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. I had to remind myself multiple times that this is a middle grade book, and it's all about the journey. Honestly I anticipate young readers delightedly accompanying Edda on her spooky (but not too spooky) golem related adventures.

My final verdict on How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is that it is good, clean and fun reading! By the end I was wishing there was more, but then again I'm a sucker for cute protagonists. If you have a younger reader at home who enjoys an adventure, this is for them! A little bit of alchemy and a lot of friendship come together in perfect harmony to create a story that is a sweet and enjoyable read.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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