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Splendors and Glooms

Schlitz, Laura Amy

(Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Splendors and Glooms
When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.
Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780763653804
Branch Call Number: J FIC S
Characteristics: xii, 384 p. ; 23 cm.
Alternate Title: Splendors & glooms


From Library Staff

A deliciously lurid Dickensian melodrama featuring two orphans, a disappearing girl, and an evil puppet master.

From the critics

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This definitely does not read like a children’s book. It’s a wonderfully told tale and while I’d enthusiastically recommend it to tweens and young teens, it’s not something I’d recommend for younger readers. Some of scenes may very well frighten some kids. It gave me the creeps, and I’m long past the “tween” stage.

Sep 25, 2013
  • awhaleofatale rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Dark and somewhat creepy. Suspenseful, yet the storyline tends to drag at times.

A better choice is Stealing Magic by Marianne Malone.

Feb 10, 2013
  • becker rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A fantasy book for older children that offers a well thought out plot, strong characters and a good atmospheric setting. It is a bit on the dark side but it is filled with adventure and danger and is fun to read. A great book for the 10-13 year old reader or anyone still young at heart.

If you like darkish novels then you should read "The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy."

Jan 15, 2013
  • JCLBrownM rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is definitely my favorite book from 2012. It is dark and beautiful.

Dec 12, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

If I had a kid standing in front me right now looking at Splendors and Glooms with suspicion I would probably tell them that the book has a witch, an evil puppet master, transformations, a magical amulet, small dogs, orphans, lots of blood, and Yorkshire pudding. Mind you, that description just wans and pales in the presence of Laura Amy Schlitz's latest. This is a book infused with such a heady atmosphere that from page one on you are so thoroughly sucked into the story that the only way to get out is through.


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Oct 13, 2014
  • white_wolf_80 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

white_wolf_80 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Dec 12, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Dec 12, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Nothing graphic, but finding out how Parsefall lost his little finger is horror-rific just the same.

Dec 12, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Violence: The villain shares more than a pint of blood by the story's end. He deserves it, but boy is there a lot to be had!


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Dec 12, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The witch is dying. The girl is lonely. The children are hungry. Four people unconnected until the puppet master Grisini brings them, in a sense, together. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are orphans who have lived with the man for years, doing his puppet work with him, received almost nothing in return. When they perform for Clara Wintermute, a rich little girl who requests a performance for her birthday, they are unprepared when the next day policeman come around asking questions. Clara has disappeared and Grisini is under suspicion. When Grisini himself disappears, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall find something that makes Clara's fate seem out of the ordinary. All the more so when they are summoned by a witch to a beautiful distant estate and everyone, even Grisini, is reunited once more for a final showdown.


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But she wondered if one day it might be true - if somehow Parsefall might help her to cross the border between paralysis and life. With every touch, the bond between them grew stronger. When he played upon her strings, Clara glimpsed the splendors and glooms that haunted his mind. She shared his appetite for prodigies and wonders, for a world where stars and skeletons frolicked until their bones fell apart.

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Splendors and Glooms
Schlitz, Laura Amy
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