Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and Glooms

Book - 2012
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When Clara vanishes after the puppeteer Grisini and two orphaned assistants were at her twelfth birthday party, suspicion of kidnapping chases the trio away from London and soon the two orphans are caught in a trap set by Grisini's ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it is too late.
Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick, 2012.
ISBN: 9780763653804
Branch Call Number: J SCH
Characteristics: xii, 384 pages ;,23 cm


From Library Staff

The 10-year-old: “It’s just interesting. It seemed pretty different. Good story.”

From the critics

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Jun 26, 2017

6 stars out of 5! Lost a lot of sleep over this book, highly recommend for anyone who is still young at heart.

Aug 06, 2015

I found this book was both very compelling and interesting. This book was a good mix of horror and fantasy. The author has written a book for anyone who enjoys suspense and horror but nothing too directly scary. This is a good book for anyone over the age 13. In this book you are following the apprentices of a puppeteer as they uncover the dark past of their master and how it is linked to a recent disappearance of a young girl. This book also takes place in the slums of Victorian London. I think this is a great time period because helps to create the dark and gloomy feel of the book. The title Splendors and Glooms also relates to this mood. Throughout the book learn about different characters and their wants and desires. This desires are what motivate them to do different things. I believe the title Splendors and Glooms is used to refer to these thoughts and actions, as they are a big part of the book. I believe this book was a well written book for the most part. The author was able to use details and diction to create a clear picture and story. However I found at times the transitions between different characters points of view from each chapter could be hard to follow. I think that this book was mostly very well written. Overall I found this book a good read and perfect for anyone looking for a good book to get into.

FW_librarian Jun 19, 2015

I loved this creepy story about a puppeteer whose talent doesn't stop at just manipulating puppets! Although, I suspected what was going on, I was still taken by surprise. This is a good read for tweens or children who like being scared.

bookfanatic1979 Feb 13, 2014

This definitely does not read like a children’s book. It’s a wonderfully told tale and while I’d enthusiastically recommend it to tweens and young teens, it’s not something I’d recommend for younger readers. Some of scenes may very well frighten some kids. It gave me the creeps, and I’m long past the “tween” stage.

Sep 25, 2013

Dark and somewhat creepy. Suspenseful, yet the storyline tends to drag at times.

A better choice is Stealing Magic by Marianne Malone.

Feb 10, 2013

A fantasy book for older children that offers a well thought out plot, strong characters and a good atmospheric setting. It is a bit on the dark side but it is filled with adventure and danger and is fun to read. A great book for the 10-13 year old reader or anyone still young at heart.

Jan 16, 2013

If you like darkish novels then you should read "The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy."

JCLBrownM Jan 15, 2013

This is definitely my favorite book from 2012. It is dark and beautiful.


If I had a kid standing in front me right now looking at Splendors and Glooms with suspicion I would probably tell them that the book has a witch, an evil puppet master, transformations, a magical amulet, small dogs, orphans, lots of blood, and Yorkshire pudding. Mind you, that description just wans and pales in the presence of Laura Amy Schlitz's latest. This is a book infused with such a heady atmosphere that from page one on you are so thoroughly sucked into the story that the only way to get out is through.


Add Notices

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Nothing graphic, but finding out how Parsefall lost his little finger is horror-rific just the same.


Violence: The villain shares more than a pint of blood by the story's end. He deserves it, but boy is there a lot to be had!

Age Suitability

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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The witch is dying. The girl is lonely. The children are hungry. Four people unconnected until the puppet master Grisini brings them, in a sense, together. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are orphans who have lived with the man for years, doing his puppet work with him, received almost nothing in return. When they perform for Clara Wintermute, a rich little girl who requests a performance for her birthday, they are unprepared when the next day policeman come around asking questions. Clara has disappeared and Grisini is under suspicion. When Grisini himself disappears, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall find something that makes Clara's fate seem out of the ordinary. All the more so when they are summoned by a witch to a beautiful distant estate and everyone, even Grisini, is reunited once more for a final showdown.


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JCLAngelicaR Jun 05, 2013

But she wondered if one day it might be true - if somehow Parsefall might help her to cross the border between paralysis and life. With every touch, the bond between them grew stronger. When he played upon her strings, Clara glimpsed the splendors and glooms that haunted his mind. She shared his appetite for prodigies and wonders, for a world where stars and skeletons frolicked until their bones fell apart.

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