Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio - Lloyd Alexander

The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio by Lloyd Alexander
Genre: YA, adventure
Published on August 7, 2007
Published by Henry Holt & Company
Pages: 306
Read From: 1.17.15 - 1.20.15

A beautiful Kirkassi girl, cold-eyed villains and smiling killers, a bazaar merchant peddling slightly used dreams - could any young adventurer ask for more? Not Carlo Chuchio, who is seeking hidden treasure on the legendary Road of Golden Dreams. 
With Baksheesh, the world's worst camel-puller, Carlo leads a caravan through the Arabian Nights-like realm of Keshavar. Robbed of all but his underdrawers, mistaken for a mighty warrior and then for a crown prince, Carlo risks his life for a treasure that may not even exist. . . .


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I love the color scheme for this book, and the Arabian Nights style. It promises adventure and treasure!

Characters: Poor Carlo has a heart of gold and craves adventure, but he isn't the most aware or brilliant person. He's easily fooled and you can't help but love him, even if you face-palm sometimes. Baksheesh was awesome. Definitely the comic relief, his tricky ways and exaggerations were hilarious and wonderful and he was so, so awesome! Shira, the woman of the group, is tough, courageous, honest, and witty. Lloyd Alexander knows how to write tough female characters, and Shira might be my favorite. This book has so many colorful characters; villains and allies alike.

The Romance: It doesn't take long for Carlo to fall for Shira, and I really liked their romance. It's quick, naturally, but I've found that if I like both characters and the romance isn't mostly focused on how hot someone is, I don't mind quick romances anymore. It is also implied that they're on the road for quite a long time, so Carlo and Shira have known each other for a little while. I also maintain that life-and-death situations can strengthen feelings a lot faster than normal circumstances. So Carlo and Shira's romance is very sweet and I loved it.

Plot: Carlo Chuchio is a dreamer, and it's driving his uncle crazy. When Carlo finds a mysterious old map that promises to lead to treasure, he decides to take his meager possessions and start out on an adventure of a lifetime. Along the way, he picks up a couple of companions: Baksheesh, a lazy, dishonest, yet very loyal camel-puller; Shira, a young woman with a dark past; and Soloman, an old man who is on his way to the beach - someday. Together, these four travelers encounter inexplicable wonders, evil villains, and what true treasure is. I love journey stories, expedition stories, travel stories, and more importantly - treasure stories. I love all the crazy, dangerous, and weird things that happen in stories like that. And The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio delivers with Lloyd Alexander's classic humor, magic, villains, and perilous situations. The plot moves along at a clipped, easy pace, and along the way there is indications of an underlying main plot that is going to create a climax at the end.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. I love Lloyd Alexander's writing style. It's witty, it's magical, it's very picturesque. He brings the characters to life with his words.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The first time I read The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, I found the ending to be a tad bit disappointing. Lloyd Alexander was a brilliant writer, but I've always been of the opinion that his endings are a little weak. It's like he got bored with writing the book and just wrapped it up. Re-reading it, though, I liked the ending a whole lot more. Maybe it's because of my "new" perspective on life, but I'm able to appreciate the whole "the journey is the treasure" idea a lot more than I used to as a kid. Either way, this is definitely one of my favorite Lloyd Alexander books.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, fourteen-and-up, fans of adventure stories.

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