Book review: Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold
I’ve always been an archaeology geek, so when I read the blurb for Soldier Doll it instantly sparked my interest. Soldier Doll follows the incredible journey of a single historical artefact (a small wooden doll dressed as a soldier) as it passes from owner to owner, silently witnessing a century of warfare. It’s a difficult task for an author - attempting to forge an emotional attachment between the reader and an object rather than a single individual - which is maybe why although I enjoyed reading Soldier Doll, I didn’t really feel a strong attachment to the story or its characters by the end.
The plot follows the soldier doll through time, interspersing the past with the present. The doll’s present day owner, Elizabeth, is Gold’s main protagonist. While I think Gold did an excellent job of writing a realistic teenager (sometimes kind and thoughtful, other times bratty and insolent) I wasn’t drawn to her. Elizabeth had no drive and her story lacked urgency. I was much more interested in the past sections of the novel, which, while overtly didactic, were significantly less predictable.
Soldier Doll was a quick, easy read, but I was never able to fully immerse myself in the story. I felt almost as though I was being held at arm’s length away from the characters, unable to fully connect with them. While reading, I was all too aware that the characters and events were fictional, and the many attempts to force some kind of meaning onto the soldier doll seemed heavy-handed. It was hard to believe that every owner of the doll would have had such strong feelings towards such a forgettable object. That said, I did enjoy the ending of the novel, particularly the way the soldier doll’s tumultuous history was revealed to Elizabeth, and the final decisions made in regards to its ownership. If the rest of the novel was unsatisfying, the ending was worth getting to, and I’m glad I kept reading.
Many thanks to Jennifer Gold and Second Story Press for providing a copy of Soldier Doll in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Second Story Press
Rating: 2 stars | ★★✰✰✰
Review cross-posted to Goodreads
Waiting on Wednesday: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
Publication date: August 14th 2014
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These fake dystopian YA summaries are possibly one of the best things on the internet.
endless list of favourite books - Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
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Grisha trilogy fans, the official Shadow and Bone re-read begins today! Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time allocated to read each book. Join the re-read group on Goodreads to take part in the discussion led by Macmillan Teen beginning now!
April Book Photo Challenge
Day 6 - Books and animals
Whenever you leave a book lying aroud, moments later you’ll almost certainly return to find something fluffy firmly attached to it.