Review: Karina's Silver Shoes by Denise Marques Leitao

9:30 AM

Karina's Silver Shoes by Denise Marques Leitao | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5-3)

"You don't understand," the woman said. "There are many things anyone could do. Each person is faced with infinite possibilities. It doesn't matter why you choose one or the other, or why life draws you one way or another. What matters is not why, or what exactly, but your choices along the way. Perhaps any girl could have done it. But not all of them would have done it." 

As a note, a review copy of this novel was provided in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. Thank you!

Before you look at my lower rating and think, "Oh. It's not worth it." remember that taste is subjective. While my 2.5 star rating may seem off-putting or even intimidating to you, just remember that not everything is bound to be everyone's cup of tea. Further, note that at the end of the day there were a lot of elements I really loved about Karina's Silver Shoes and that ultimately it was a very unique tale that is perfect for middle grade readers!

Earlier this month, I had a very similar problem with The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy in the sense that it just wasn't my favourite read. In the case of Karina's Silver Shoes, I do think that--perhaps--I was merely out of the targeted age range. I was charmed by a lot of things--the uniqueness of the plot, the magic, the fact that it was unlike any YA I've read in recent memory and of course the character of Karina herself. 

  So what went wrong with it? That is the question.

But I don't want to imply that there was anything directly wrong with Denise Marques Leitao's prose because there genuinely was not. I thought her writing was velvety smooth and there were a lot of plus sides to it and the story. It's neither the pacing nor the prose rather, the worldbuilding and the lack of development in its characters that made it less than appealing for me. Aside from Karina, I felt like I knew little about any of the characters or the very realm that she travels too. 

While the scenes were pretty full of action--there were a lot of qualities that were mundane and lack-luster. Cayla, Nia, Dorian, Ayanna, Lylah, Sian, etc, didn't feel altogether alive. Not in the way that Karina did. I cannot stress this enough--while this isn't necessarily a horrible trait for YA fantasy, or in particular, middle grade fantasy, it just wasn't living up to what I can sense the story--the writing--was capable of.

There was this odd sense of choppiness that came with certain things in Karina's Silver Shoes that was keen on contributing to my lack of attachment to, well, anything. And the ending seemed a bit rushed and open-ended; a bit unsatisfying for my preference. I'm not certain if there are planned sequels on board, but it didn't feel like where the story should end. I just felt like it could have been more--that Denise was only just getting started on it and the realms and what happens next, you know what I mean?

Ultimately... Karina's Silver Shoes didn't hit the right mark for me. That doesn't mean it's bad or that it is a book you should avoid. I definitely think a lot of younger readers will love the novel and its general path of mystery, magic and a journey of a lifetime. 

**It may make them want to buy a pair of magical silver shoes. 
***Seriously, Karina--hit me up with your YARD SALE LUCK, GIRL.

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