Monday 2 May 2016

The Book of Pearl

The Book of Pearl by Timothee De Fombelle (Walker Books)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 9781406364620
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This is a tale about power, cruelty, murder, and war. Above all, it’s about eternal love. Presented in three intricately created parts, it is written in back and forth chapters that tie together, to create the why, where and how of a magical, yet heartbreaking, story of love.

Ian, the king in waiting, discovers he has a brother Ilian, instead of a sister he had believed for years to have. When he falls in love with Olia the fairy, and discovers she loves his brother, Ian orders Ilian’s death.

Instead of killing him, Taag, the genie, exiles Ilian forever from the kingdoms to the world we know as ours, far from his love. 

Olia too, is banished. Stripped of her fairy powers she cannot be with her love who has undergone a metamorphosis, and is now Joshua Pearl.

The story covers a lifetime. We see Joshua Ilian Pearl during WW2, and how his life is reshaped by fighting, friendships and discoveries. The pivotal part of the story hinges on the fragments of Joshua’s past that have been collected; his ‘tokens of proof’ that he dedicates his life to tracking down at all cost, in order to build the story about the life and love he had with Olia.

The alternating chapters have been set up beautifully so they flow continuously together. The emotive prose, descriptive settings and fairytale imagery are all part of a breathtaking creation by the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of French children’s books, Timothee de Fombelle. Translated by Sarah Ardizzone and Sam Gordon, it can be classed as a cross-over novel, but however it is classed, it remains another magnificent piece of work.

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