Official Review: The Invisible Realm

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kfwilson6
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Official Review: The Invisible Realm

Post by kfwilson6 » 16 Nov 2018, 23:44

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Invisible Realm" by Evelyn Louise Dunbar-Webb.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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One of the worst things that can happen on a vacation is to have an abundance of plans that get ruined by bad weather. Rainstorms can sure put a damper on one’s hopes for adventure. In The Invisible Realm, Hattie and Dacey feel the typical depression that can settle in when this happens. New stepsisters seven-year-old Dacey and eleven-year-old Hattie are already unhappy enough about a vacation sharing a cottage with their new family members. In addition to the poor weather, Hattie’s sour mood is only enhanced when her dad and stepmom tell her she needs to babysit. With nothing better to do, Hattie convinces Dacey to explore the attic of the very old cottage the rain has them trapped in. To the astonishment and great delight of the two girls, they discover a map that appears to lead from the cellar to some nearby caves. Following what they hope will turn out to be a treasure map, the two young ladies stumble into a lush realm of fairytale creatures, a challenging maze, and riddles to be solved. The girls sought an adventure, and they certainly found one.

Evelyn Dunbar Webb’s introduction to A-Maze-ing Mystery Adventures is whimsical with a dash each of The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Hattie and Dacey encounter a host of fairytale creatures who assist them in their adventure but mostly empower the girls to trust their instincts, work together, and use their knowledge to move forward through the land. The characters are an odd cast, including a fairy godmother, talking bears, a young dragon, and a snazzy cat. They each have a distinct personality and individual peculiarities which make them fun characters for children to read about.

There are two things, in particular, I like about The Invisible Realm aside from its fun, whimsical nature. The relationship between Hattie and Dacey as stepsisters of only a few weeks is quite strained. However, the trials and challenges of their no-longer rainy-day adventure help them to bond. The two develop a true appreciation for each other, and they learn to communicate openly and honestly. It is an excellent example of how siblings should treat one another.

The second thing I really like is that Webb introduces her young readers to an assortment of new things, such as the Underground Railroad, the Lincoln Tunnel, and the War of 1812. Hopefully, the passing mention of these and other places and events will spark a curiosity in readers so they will learn something about history as a result of this fictional adventure. Dacey is quite the reader, and I attribute her knowledge of landmarks and history to her love of books.

Overall, the story is great for children between the ages of eleven and fourteen who like adventures involving fairytale creatures. However, there are a few things I believe can be improved by Webb to make the book more appealing to her young audience. There are a few colored drawings included throughout the book of the girls and some of the characters. They are far from professional and don’t enhance the quality of the book at all. The author would benefit from removing these pictures and leaving only the cover art and the small road signs with colorful birds that mark each new chapter.

One of the drawings I really don’t care for depicts the villain of the story. Actually, this particular drawing is placed in the book twice for no apparent reason. It seems that every fairytale must harbor an evil creature, and The Invisible Realm is no exception. However, the interactions between the stepsisters and this creature come off as anti-climactic. I was particularly underwhelmed by the character himself and the way Dacey and Hattie engaged with him. As a result of the almost forced inclusion of a villain, the poorly done illustrations, and a slow pace that plagues the book, I am removing one star and granting The Invisible Realm 3 out of 4 stars. I do believe the story is worthy of the three stars for its interesting cast of characters, adventurous quality, and valuable lessons about how to treat family.

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The Invisible Realm
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Post by gen_g » 17 Nov 2018, 10:56

This sounds like a promising book, albeit with its own flaws. It does seem like an exciting read for young teens. Thanks for the review!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 17 Nov 2018, 12:19

This sounds like the sort of book I would have loved as a kid, with challenging family relations and a mysterious house offering a portal to a different realm. These are quite common themes in children's books but not to worry because they're always fun. Thanks for a great review.

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Post by Sicily Joy » 17 Nov 2018, 19:35

This sounds like a fun adventure story. I like that the stepsisters actually grew on each other. It is a nice touch since stepsisters are often written as enemies. Thank you for your review.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 17 Nov 2018, 19:41

The second thing I really like is that Webb introduces her young readers to an assortment of new things, such as the Underground Railroad, the Lincoln Tunnel, and the War of 1812. Hopefully, the passing mention of these and other places and events will spark a curiosity in readers so they will learn something about history as a result of this fictional adventure. Dacey is quite the reader, and I attribute her knowledge of landmarks and history to her love of books.
I love that the author included these historical events in a fairy tale. Your description of the book really piqued my interest. :tiphat:

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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes » 17 Nov 2018, 20:20

This story is enchanting. The map leads the girls to the realm of fairytale creatures. This is parallel to the story of Per Pan leading those bunch of kids to Neverland, only by flying. It must be some really intriguing scenario when all these characters are gathered in one place. Correct me if I am wrong, this is how I delineated this, not having read the book yet. Thank you for the interesting review.
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Post by Book Lover 35 » 17 Nov 2018, 20:40

This book reminds me of my childhood a little bit. I would be bored at my grandma's and I would go outside to explore. This book reminds me of Alice in Wonderland too. Thank you for the review!
:tiphat:

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Post by mercy_tessy » 18 Nov 2018, 02:22

Would surely recommend this for my son.. lovely

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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Nov 2018, 13:50

The cover of this book is amazing! I find it super disappointing that the illustrations in the book were sub-par. I wonder why the illustrator of the front cover didn't do the rest too?
Or did they, and they were just average in comparison?
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Post by Nevaeh_sent1 » 18 Nov 2018, 14:11

Loved your review, I could do with a fairy godmother, a few talking bears and a snazzy cat myself! Unfortunately I'm over 14 - oh well.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 18 Nov 2018, 14:50

Bianka Walter wrote:
18 Nov 2018, 13:50
The cover of this book is amazing! I find it super disappointing that the illustrations in the book were sub-par. I wonder why the illustrator of the front cover didn't do the rest too?
Or did they, and they were just average in comparison?
I thought I read somewhere that she did her own illustrations, but I don't see any information about that now. I didn't even realize she is the author of The Word Collector, which I thought had really cute illustrations. I like the cover of this one. That's what made me think of A Series of Unfortunate Events. That style throughout would have been great.

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Post by kdstrack » 18 Nov 2018, 21:23

This sounds like a wonderful book (even taking into account the comments about the illustrations!). Your description of the girls' discovery is amazing! I especially like the inclusion of the historical references. This book really interests me.

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Post by kandscreeley » 19 Nov 2018, 08:52

This one sounds amazing! I love that there's fantasy and that the children find something fun to do on a rainy day. That would, perhaps, spark the reader's sense of adventure on a similar day. Plus, the mention of the Underground Railroad and other such events! Wow!
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Post by Nusrat_Shabnam_ » 19 Nov 2018, 09:02

I was already pulled by the cover and name of it. As I am a teen, so this is exactly my kind of read.

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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 20 Nov 2018, 02:54

Though the target audience is children, the adventure seems interesting enough for me to give this book a try. However, its slow-paced plot and the poorly done illustrations make me think otherwise. Fascinating review!

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