March 27, 2013

Review: The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt - Book I of Hartlandia by Ilana Waters

Hello there book-a-holics!
I'm here today to talk to you about Ilana Waters' book "The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt".

Stanley is a 10 year old boy who is a librarian in a medieval  kingdom called Hartlandia, in a small town called Meadowwood. His friends, Will, the farm boy and Sophie, the Apothecary also live there. They used to go to school together and hang around, but they ended up being needed at their works and had to drop out, now they only see eachother eventually.

At first, I thought the writing rythm was too slow. I had a hard time picking up and warming up to the book, but it was when I was feeling book blocked, so that may be it. After a while, after the first third or so, I finally got into the story - that's when bad things happen and the adventure properly starts.

I had a hard time believing bad things really happened. I mean, something HAD to happen, or the adventure wouldn't start and we all know adventures would happen - it was "The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt" after all - but it was very sad and being a Bookworm, a Book Lover and a Book-A-Holic, it depressed me to no end. His best friend Will is killed and his Library is burnt t he ground. Please don't judge me for being more depressed about the Library than Will, it's just that I've never really believed he was really dead until the very ending.

Some new rules and regulations come out when the new Ruler, Christopher Siren, takes over, after the King and Queen are off to a diferent country to negotiate on something. Everything is very shady and a bit suspicious but, interestingly enough, no one suspects much. Recess and art classes are cancelled and a curfew is placed but no one is warned of it. And the penalty for disobeying is death. Also, a new Rainbow Rule is set in place, no colors are allowed anymore, outdoors or indoors, on anything man made, so all clothes are shades of grey and dark blue, all very boring.

Stanley sets out on a quest to find out what's going on and confront Siren about Will's death and ends up finding that the world is so much bigger and so much more interesting, that his books were very interesting indeed, but the world was so much more.He always felt like he didn't really belong anywhere, being an orphan and all, but Sophie was an orphan too (or, at least, she got dropped off at the Apothecary's door, so she might as well be) and she stayed put.

It's a fun, but not light, adventure, which can make you think about actual society. Are we questioning the orders we get? Are we trying to build our life the best way we can or are we just following what's been set out for us? What we do has a purpose or are just doing it for useless rewards?

Stanley is very charismatic and we see a real character development with both Stanley and Sophie - they learn more about themselves and more about the world, they grow, even if they are still young, they have more life experience than many grown-ups.

Overall, it's a wonderful book. Aside from my struggle at the beggining, I think it is beautiful, interesting and fun and I'm adding Book #2 to my evergrowing To Be Read pile.

You can buy The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt HERE.