The Mourning Emporium2stars

 

 

A Waterlogged Orphan Story

By Michelle Lovric
Delacorte Press, $17.99, 448 pages

Teodora thought that the dark times in Venice were behind her after she and her best friend, Renzo, banished the evil Bajamonte Tiepolo from the world. Unfortunately, his spirit still lingered and, with the help of his allies, he manages to submerge Venice in a flood of ice. Tea and Renzo, banished to an orphanage on the water, must work to find allies of their own to help save themselves, and the world, again.

The Mourning Emporium is the sequel to Lovric’s previous book, The Undrowned Child. Set in the early 20th century, the book blends Dickensian orphan drama with fantasy, something that could be very interesting. Unfortunately, the end result is a mix of cartoonish characters and a meandering plot. The villains in particular suffer from being broadly written and seem almost caricatures of a typical bad guy. The storyline moves slowly, spending too much time on the orphanage and one character’s penchant for abusing animals. The characterization of protagonists Teo and Renzo is fine, if a little lackluster. In general, the book falls short of its premise and is generally dissatisfying to read.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern

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