Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Ophelia

  • Author: Karen Foxlee
  • ISBN: 9780385753548
  • Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

The above ISBN is for the hardcover edition, but I listened to the audiobook I purchased.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is a perfect example of how to write a modern Middle-Grade fairy tale.  Ophelia isn’t sure of herself and doesn’t feel that she’s anyone special, yet she finds herself with the task of saving a boy from the Snow Queen.  Oh, and by the way, Ophelia, could you save the world in the process?  I loved every moment!  Every event made sense, whether it was fantastical or not, and no character, not even Ophelia, was suddenly capable of doing anything they weren’t already equipped to accomplish.  At the same time, the world of the story is full of magic, despite Ophelia’s belief that there is no such thing.

The Snow Queen is truly scary and wholly evil.  While she is not exactly the same as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, my thoughts turned to her the more I found out about the Snow Queen.  What I liked even more than that childhood favorite was the lack of religious allegory.  It also doesn’t head in the opposite direction as did the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman.  The only point I found, besides being a beautiful story for its own sake, was that ordinary people can sometimes do seemingly extraordinary things, even if they have asthma and aren’t good at running.

Though the narrator, Jayne Entwistle, did a wonderful job, I know I would have loved the story just as much had I read the book instead of listening to it.  I know that sometimes makes a difference, but not this time.  I can safely recommend Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy in any format, especially if you’re a fan of Middle-Grade Fantasy, or you love the “Narnia” series.

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