Kandide and the Secret of the Mists (The Calabiyau Chronicles, Book One)
Diana S. Zimmerman
Noesis Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Avery Largent (age 9) for Reader Views (11/08)
“Kandide and the Secret of the Mists” by Diana S. Zimmerman is a book about a fairy named Kandide who is sent away from her home. With a flick of her mother’s hand, Kandide is sent to the land of the Imperfects, where she gets stuck and struggles to find her way back. Despite the great idea for the plot and the amazing cover art and pictures, this book is mediocre. The author’s style was very hard to read and a little too descriptive. The relationships between the characters are very odd, and the main character, Kandide, is very vain.
Despite having a great idea for the book, the author’s style had many drawbacks. The author did not do a very good job with describing the action. The scenes would become a blur, and I would not understand what was happening or even which characters were in the scene at the time. When the biggest amount of action happened, in the middle, I didn’t really understand what happened until the end of the book. One of the things that made it hard to read was that there was a lot of description. For instance, when the author was describing Kandide’s looks, she went through her hair, eye, and skin color in deep detail, and even ended up talking about her high cheekbones and the color of her cheeks and other places on her face. Although it’s nice to get a clear picture, it interfered a lot with the action and sidetracked the story.
Also, the book was less enjoyable because of Kandide’s incredibly vain attitude. She seems to often be thinking things such as “they’re all just jealous of my beauty.” When Kandide is sent to the land of the Imperfects she is fretting more than half the book about it. If a single hair was out of place, Kandide would throw a fit.
I also didn’t like the way the author portrayed the romantic relationship in the book. The way that they show the characters liking to each other is strange; the characters seem to hate each other while liking each other. They get angry with each other or offend each other one moment, and then the next they are being very flirtatious. It does not make any sense, and I don’t see how their relationship could ever survive, with it being so unbalanced.
Unlike the author’s style and the romance between the two characters, the pictures are not odd or confusing. You can tell which character is which very easily; they’re beautiful, detailed, and just plain amazing. The colors are gorgeous together and follow exactly what the book describes right down to each character’s height, eye color, and even, (for the fairies, anyway) the same wing pattern! I enjoy sitting and picking through the book, looking at the pictures. Actually, I do it so often I have memorized a few of the pages that contain pictures!
Altogether, “Kandide and the Secrets of the Mist” by Diana S. Zimmerman is an iffy book. With a great plot idea, even if not very well-written, unlikable characters and relationships, and simply breathtaking pictures, this book was not the best I have ever read. Although I do not plan to read the rest of the books in this series soon, if I was offered the book I would take it. I would recommend this book to my friends to see what they thought, and hope other people who read it enjoy it.