Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie was utterly magical and completely brilliant

The Nowhere Emporium
Title: The Nowhere Emporium
Series: N/A
Author: Ross Mackenzie
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy
Publication: March 5th 2015, Kelpies
Pages: 280 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Netgalley for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4.5/5 cupcakes!
When the mysterious Nowhere Emporium arrives in Glasgow, orphan Daniel Holmes stumbles upon it quite by accident. Before long, the 'shop from nowhere' -- and its owner, Mr Silver -- draw Daniel into a breathtaking world of magic and enchantment. Recruited as Mr Silver's apprentice, Daniel learns the secrets of the Emporium's vast labyrinth of passageways and rooms -- rooms that contain wonders beyond anything Daniel has ever imagined. But when Mr Silver disappears, and a shadow from the past threatens everything, the Emporium and all its wonders begin to crumble. Can Daniel save his home, and his new friends, before the Nowhere Emporium is destroyed forever?

Would you like to know what I liked about this book?

Well, let's just say the following GIF represents me, about to read to you, the list of things I liked (and loved) about The Nowhere Emporium. TRUE. STORY. This book was all kinds of wonderful and it utterly entranced me and you should all read it because it's truly magnificent.

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OKAY, SO. The Nowhere Emporium is about an orphan, Daniel Holmes, who isn't having the best time at his orphanage in Glasgow. He's bullied and friendless and not in the best state. However, one day when he's running from the bullies who dictate the orphanage, Daniel stumbles into a shop to hide from the gang. AND THAT'S WHERE ALL THE FUN BEGINS. He finds himself in the hands of Mr. Silver, a kind, yet intimidating, man who takes him under his wing after discovering that Daniel has magic running through his veins. He introduces him to the emporium, with its twisting corridors that lead into rooms that contain oceans and jungles and various impossible things (I am a sucker for stories like this. Rooms containing continents and planets and cities - SIGN ME UP). He meets Ellie, Mr. Silver's fiery daughter, and the various circus folk that roam the corridors, striking up friendships with them all. Daniel has finally found a place to call home and friends to call family....annnnd then life happens. There's a cruel, sinister villain on their tails, one who will stop at nothing until Mr. Silver is dead and the book of Wonders is in his hands. As Mr. Silver disappears, Daniel and Ellie must try everything they can to prevent the emporium from falling apart and falling into Vindictus Sharpe's hands. Do they succeed? WELL, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY READ THE BOOK AND FIND OUT. Not convinced? Well, my handy list of All the Things I Loved about The Nowhere Emporium will help change your mind. If not, I'll clearly have to work on my book persuading skills. 

All the Things I Loved About The Nowhere Emporium:
1. The general atmosphere of the book
This book was extraordinary and utterly magical. and it made me feel like a young child again, it ignited my imagination and refilled my wonder gauge. I was completely captivated by The Nowhere Emporium and it gave me the tools to rediscover that childlike vivid imagination that tends to fade with age.

2.  The Characters
If you've been on my blog for two seconds you'll probably know that I live for the characters in books. There could be no plot and the writing could be less than average, but if you have characters that are real and brilliant and wonderful...I will probably love the book. 
And I loved the characters in The Nowhere Emporium. SO MUCH. 
They were quite complex and they all had their demons, it was nice seeing three-dimensional characters in a middle-grade novel as that's something I often find lacking! 

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Actual image of me hugging most of the characters in this book. There, there my smol precious children.
  • Daniel Holmes is the protagonist of the story. He's an unlikely hero and a lovable one. I adored him. He was brave, he was clever and he was kind. He's an orphan boy who lost his parents in awful circumstances and the orphanage he's been placed in is a building devoid of friends, kindness and warmth. I also loved that he was a realistic kid, he made some silly mistakes but he had a heart of gold and I LOVED HIM OKAY. I felt a burst of happiness for Daniel when he was taken under Mr. Silver's wing and discovered a life of wonder and magnificence because the precious marshmallow really, really deserved it.
  • I loved Ellie as well, Mr. Silver's twelve-year-old daughter. On the exterior, she's fierce and stubborn and brave, but there were little chinks in her armour that allowed her fear, her sadness and her uncertainty to reach the reader, making her feel like a very authentic character. She felt trapped and stifled due to not being able to leave the Emporium's walls and I felt so sad for her because she was just a real girl who was a ghost to everyone but her father, Daniel and the Emporium's staff.  She just wanted to set foot outside the Emporium's walls and see the real world, breathe fresh air into her lungs and explore the extraordinary beauty of Earth. She was sassy and brave but she showed her vulnerability as well which made her feel so much more real! 
  • I liked Mr. Silver too! He had a quiet kind of strength, he was kind, generous and utterly magical. However, he was also tormented by the ghosts of his past and it showed. He wasn't a perfect character but I loved him nonetheless. 
  • Then there was Vindictus Sharpe who is clearly psychologically damaged and has no soul and not an ounce of humanity in him. He's a dark, dark character and I was quite surprised that he featured in a children's book because he's motives and actions are chilling. He brought a darkness to the story that was accompanied by intrigue and suspense throughout the novel.
3. The Plot
The plot was intense, bro. It was intense. There were plot twists and cliffhangers and secrets and IT WAS JUST AN EXPLOSION OF EPICNESS, BASICALLY.  There's wonder woven through the exciting events but there's also a fuse of danger and suspense planted like landmines throughout. For a children's book, it's dark. There are cutthroats and murders, duels and death and chilling psychopathic villains. However, it's all intertwined in a magical conglomeration of delectable writing, loveable characters, friendship and imaginative wonder that makes it the perfect read for people of all ages. BUT SERIOUSLY, the last part of this book was INCREDIBLE and my pulse was racing for the last few chapters. I was listening to the audiobook whilst volunteering at the library and the people must have thought I was deranged because these were my expressions...not a pretty sight. I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time which was awesome


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4. The Writing
Oh, how I loved the writing! It melted like golden honey on my tongue and it crackled with the power and beauty of exploding fireworks. The Nowhere Emporium is written so imaginatively, it's completely genius and spectacularly brilliant. It's storytelling at its finest. The words used seemed enchanting and they way they flowed into each other to create spellbinding sentences had me awestruck. The writing offers out its hand to take you on the most breathtaking of journeys. It's glorious.

5. The Subtlety of Tender Topics
Perhaps it's just my analytical nature reading too much into the content of the book or perhaps this was the author's purpose, but I felt like one of the book's purposes was to introduce children to the idea of real life in a palatable manner: real life that shows death is inevitable, it can't be undone and some people are ruthless. There were several instances that Mr. Silver mentioned that not even magic could bring the dead back to life and sometimes people die in stupid accidents which is sadly a case of the wrong place at the wrong time, how grief can cause us to lose hope and how everyone, at some point, dies. It was just something I noticed and if that was the author's intention I think he did a brilliant job at it as he showed that death can happen to anyone, even if they are young and that it's not something you can erase..but he also showed that it will be okay eventually. I think it's important to talk about the subject in middle-grade as I lost someone very close to me when I was 12 and I think if I had been introduced to grief in books it might've helped me understand everything a little better. 

6. The Feels
No joke, this book gave me all the feels. I teared up, I laughed, I felt anxiety, I felt wonder...I LOVED IT. Books that make me feel actual things are the best kind of books, you know.

7. Everything, basically
The Nowhere Emporium is a whimsical, enchanting read with orphan boys, girls that aren't quite ghosts, dueling magicians and a shop of wonders. All those wonderful things held together by delectable writing, an excellent plot and extraordinary friendships provide for an enchanting read. I hope that you'll pick this up and give it a read, as it's truly proof that books are kind of magical portal. 

I give it: 4.5/5 cupcakes

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