Review: The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein

05 Jul

The Uncertain PlacesMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this modern fairy tale. It was evidently built on a story I didn’t know, with aspects of the stories I’ve heard since childhood.

Summary via

An ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic in this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale. When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, he quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia—are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women seem to believe that luck is their handmaiden, even though happiness does not necessarily follow. It is soon discovered that generations previous, the Feierabends made a contract with a powerful, otherworldly force, and it is up to Will and his best friend to unravel the riddle of this supernatural bargain in order to save Livvy from her predestined fate.

The Uncertain Places introduced a magical world with links to our own, with the sort of magic that exists in fairy tales. I enjoyed seeing the ins and outs of how it worked.

It was fun to speculate on the nature of the secrets of the Feierabend family, as Will (and the reader) discovered more about the mysterious happenings in and around the Feierabend house, and around the family members. It’s clear they have a long history with the unusual, and that life is going to be very strange for Will if he continues to hang around.

Even beyond the magic, Will is an interesting character, a college student entering adulthood, and learning about responsibility– for himself, and for others in his circle. He’s a smart young guy, but solving these riddles will stress his abilities.

The secondary characters were all interesting, if slightly flat. They filled the roles the story needed quite well, but for me, the book was about Will and about the magic.

Overall, the experience of reading this book worked wonderfully. It opened a path to another world, one that I enjoyed visiting (even if I wouldn’t want to live there).

Tachyon Publications sent me a copy of The Uncertain Places for review.  Thank you for this opportunity!

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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in books, reviews


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