Sara’s Review of The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

LuthiersApprenticeRating: paw3

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Date Published: May 15, 2014

Goodreads Description:

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…

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I’ll be honest and admit that as I write this review, I’m struggling to describe my thoughts on this title. It was a quick, interesting read, and while I liked it, it didn’t wow me as much as I had hoped it would. To be honest, this was a “meh” read for me. It wasn’t fantastic, nor was it terrible, it was just “meh.” As such, for the sake of this review, I’m going to use a different format to share my thoughts with you about this novel. =^.^=

The Characters:

The one character that I greatly enjoyed reading was Cory, mostly because he quotes Sherlock Holmes a lot, and as a big fan of all things Sherlock, this appealed to my sense of fun. It also made me want to reread all of the stories mentioned in this book. Beyond this enjoyment though, I found the majority of the characters to be rather basic and lacking growth and depth as the story progressed. This isn’t to say that Emma or any of the other characters were unlikeable, they just didn’t stand out for me all that much. I liked Emma’s natural curiosity and investigative nature, found Niccolo to be rather mysterious, and was rather intrigued by Sonia. Unfortunately, none of these characters are complex and as a result, I found that I didn’t really care what happened to them in the end.

The Plot:

Intriguing concept and one that shows a lot of potential. There was just enough mystery in this story to keep me reading. I enjoyed learning about what a luthier was and how they related to violins, thought the history on Paganini was interesting (though I have to wonder how much of it is true), and thought Calvani’s take on the concept of selling one’s soul to the Devil rather unique. In particular, I found the sacrifice necessary to maintain the deal to be fascinating. Obviously for the sake of spoilers I won’t go into detail about what is required to fulfill the bargain, but I must say that it is rather surprising.

On the whole though, there wasn’t a lot of complexity to the story itself, and I could have done without the rehashing of important key points at the end between Cory and Emma.

The Setting:

I think this is the first story I’ve ever read that was initially set in Brussles and as such, I wish that I could have seen more of the city and learned about its history in this story. Likewise, I would have enjoyed learning more about the parallel universe that Emma and Cory discover. I do have to give purrs to Calvani for using my favorite color, purple, as the main signature for not only the sky in this parallel universe, but also the antagonists wardrobe. Add to the fact that the castle is designed to look like a violin, and I have to give further purrs for originality.

General Impression:

It’s a great start and one that has a lot of potential. I just can’t help but feel that Calvani needs to delve deeper into this story and her characters. Your mileage is going to vary with this one.

About the Author:

MayraCalvaniAward-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

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Posted on May 21, 2014, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. thedarkphantom

    Thank you for your honest, thoughtful review. I appreciate the time you took to read and review it.