Whole in the Clouds
By Kristine KibbeeBlurb: Cora Catlin is a misfit at best, and an outcast at worst. She feels out of place, as if everything is backward and something is missing from her life.
And then, on her first day of middle school, everything changes.
When Cora encounters an elfin stranger who speaks of the magical world Clouden, an entire kingdom hidden up in the sky, she can’t wait to leave her boring, humdrum life behind. As Cora travels to her new home, where children sprout from the ground and rivers flow with chocolate, she finds herself transformed—and if that weren’t enough, she has to adjust to royal parents, talking Pegasuses, a raging war, and an alluring love interest as well.
Exploring this new land, Cora unearths wonders and secrets beyond her wildest imaginings, discovering the meaning of true friendship, love, and what it means to feel whole.
Genres: Juvenile, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2014
My Rating: 1 star
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Middle grade fantasy can be a little over the top at times. The best example I can give of this? Whole in the Clouds. It is sugary sweet; the type of sugary sweet that gives you a major cavity and you regret ever eating.
First, there is the main character Cora. Cora isn't the biggest problem I had with this book personality wise. However, I did have a problem with how the book portrayed her obesity. Cora is extremely overweight in the Backworld (our world), but she gets her true form in Clouden (the fantasy world), where she is extremely "slender" and "delicate" because this represents her extremely kind and good personality. Okay, one moment here *steps on soapbox*
The suggestion here that obesity=bad/mean (and yes, in this book it does, because the popular girls who bullied Cora's true form was that they were overweight and ugly) and slender=good/beautiful is dangerous, and I am am not okay with it at all. There are going to be young girls reading this, and I don't want them to come away with the conclusion that being if they aren't a certain size, they aren't good enough. I wish that instead of taking this road, the book could have had something about how all body types are equally beautiful, not just size 0 princesses.
*steps of soapbox*
Anyway, back to the review.
There are so many fantasy elements thrown into this one fantasy novel. It needs to be toned down. There's pegasus, all the animals can talk, people are born from seeds, and they get born old instead of babies and work their way down so that "youth isn't wasted on the young."...so basically, Benjamin Button. There were so many over the top fairytale-like details thrown in that the book began to look like this:
The writing style was annoying, because it was overly ornate and the fact is, nobody talks like this anymore, least of all twelve year old girls.
Example A: Cora made a promise to herself not to forget the plight of her parents in the Backworlds. The kindness they had bestowed upon her should be repaid with the like.
Example B: Her pessimistic nature took hold, her mind now envisioning years of unrequited waiting for her funny friend's return.
Something else I didn't like; the insta-love. Jasper meets Cora, and instantly they have an attraction. She's attracted to his eyes which are apparently bathed in innocence. It turns out they're marked for each other, which is basically like a soulmate. There's a romance. The other problem is? They're middle schoolers in real life.
Lastly, there's the fact that so much time is spent explaining Clouden and its magical-ness..there isn't actually that much of a plot. Yes, there's a feud between Cora and Jasper's family. But it's really put on the backburner for most of the story. Not cool. That should have taken precedence, in my opinion. Not more Clouden details.
This really wasn't something I'd recommend to anyone. If you want an interesting and well-written fantasy, read The Chronicles of Narnia.