Monday, September 27, 2010

The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda

This book is the first in a series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Leo discovers that the painting on the outside of his music box is actually the kingdom of Rondo, found inside the music box. The Blue Queen comes out of the music box and kidnaps the dog of his cousin, Mimi, so they enter the world of Rondo to retrieve her pet. They meet many different characters, but they're never quite sure who they can trust. They eventually are taken to a retired hero, Hal, who seems to have something to hide. When they find their door locked and Hal whispering to someone in the middle of the night, they decide things aren't safe anymore. They head off to the castle to face the Blue Queen alone. There is a confrontation with the queen at the climax of the story. The resolution of the plot informs the reader of things that were actually happening despite inferences the reader may have made.

I enjoyed the characters and plot in this story. I liked how Leo and Mimi's difficult relationship improved as they faced problems together in Rondo. The idea of going on a quest to rescue someone isn't uncommon, but the obstacles along the way are unique. The author does a nice job of keeping the reader guessing about what's going on, much like a mystery novel. On more than one occasion, seemingly good characters end up being bad, and the kids misunderstand things they see and hear. The author displays great creativity, especially with her characters, which is what I liked and didn't like. Besides humans that help the kids, there is a talking duck that is a friend, or is he? Their is a vain pig who travels with them to help fight off various creatures. The strangest characters are the hidey-holes. Yes, there are talking holes that help the kids hide from danger.

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