Published: 2 January 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult
A Jane Austen-inspired YA tale about a sixteen-year-old girl who finds a magical book—and discovers that anything she writes inside it comes true.
Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she’s convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon.
As it turns out, Emma hasn’t seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma’s way: anything she writes in the book comes true.
But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn’t the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from her—and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.
A new boy in school—the arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winter—becomes Emma’s unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer.
Rating: 4 Stars
As The Forgotten Book has a line in its own synopsis saying it’s a Jane Austen inspired story, I was on the lookout for that. I’m not sure I’d say there’s any one Austen book that this one was inspired by because I saw elements of several. There’s the overreaching one (Pride & Prejudice, of course) and some elements of Emma, such as some characteristics that The Forgotten Book Emma shared with Austen Emma, as well as her friend Hannah standing in for Harriet Smith. There’s also a writer the girls talk about named Eleanor Morland whose surname is the same as that of the heroine of Northanger Abbey.
An overused sort of line that I found unnecessarily repetitive was how, in the first few chapters, Emma was saying that her world was going to change the next day or how little did she know that everything was about to change. Those lines, with little to no difference between them, cropped up several times in the beginning of the book and it was an annoyance to hear them repeated so often and in such close proximity to the previous one.
One thing I want to point out is that there are scenes of teenagers drinking, the main character to the point of drunkenness in one, and if you miss anything, do not forget that this book takes place in Germany and was originally written in German. The legal drinking age in Germany, as far as beer and wine goes, is 16. I admit that I forgot about the setting and was surprised by this, but a quick search revealed it’s not the same as in the U.S. (my home country).
I’ve never finished an Austen novel, but from what I have read, I have to say I could see similarities in the writing style then and in Glaser’s here with The Forgotten Book, such as the social commentary and the heroine observing everything and everyone about her. Imitating a similar style and elements from some of Austen’s books, there was still a lot of her own voice within the book, from the events that Emma participated in and instigated, as well as the modern air that translates well in this current reading experience.
While there were some pacing issues, I was able to get round those rather quickly and settle down to enjoy the story. I’d recommend this book not only to fans of Glaser’s The Book Jumper, but of classic Austen novels as well, plus anyone that loves a good fantasy adventure.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.