In the land of dolls, there is magic.
In the land of humans, there is war.
Everywhere there is pain.
But together there is hope.
Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.
The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.
But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks. Add it on Goodreads.
Going into this book, I already knew that it was going to be a gripping and sad story. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the beauty and the magic that would pull me in and keep me hooked from start to finish. This is one of those books that is so thought provoking that it will keep lingering in your mind longer after you have finished it. I am incredibly happy that I chose to read this book even though it hurt me broke my heart into a thousand tiny pieces… in the best possibly way though!
The writing of this book was so mesmerizing! This is R. M. Romero’s debut novel so I had no experience with her writing style but reading other reviews gave me some high expectations. I was definitely not disappointed! In the book, she creates beautiful imagery which enables you to really experience the story on another level. While reading the story, I could easily see it all play out in my head as if I was there in Krakow with all the characters! Romero’s writing is easy to read but still beautiful, it’s a middle grade novel but the writing is certainly suitable for older readers as well, young adult, new adult or just adults, everyone could read this and fall completely in love with it!
“No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.”
The best aspect of this book is the captivating and enchanting story! It will make you laugh and cry, it will make you fall in love, break you and keep haunting you afterwards. The Dollmaker of Krakow explores important themes like love and friendship in the face of war and it is just feels so real despite the fact that there is actual magic in the story. I think that the magical aspect really adds to it, it especially makes such a hard topic a lot more accessible for younger children because war is always a difficult topic to talk about, especially the second world war, knowing what happened to all the people send to concentration camps. Personally, I think that it is really important for children to keep learning about it. Because as the Romero said in her author’s not: ‘Please don’t let it happen again.’
“My soul already existed – you just called out to me, and the wind brought me to you.”
Each and every one of the characters in the book are so unique and real. You have the Dollmaker who is kind-hearted and brave. Karolina, she is from the Land of Dolls where rats have invaded, she eventually ended up with the Dollmaker in the human world. She is feisty but also kind and not afraid to speak up when there is injustice. And then there are Rena and her father, willing to see the good in everything despite all the hardships they have to go through. I just love all the characters so much! They were extremely well written, you can’t help loving them.
Another aspect I really loved about this book is the friendship between the dollmaker and Karolina and consequently the developing friendship between the dollmaker, Karolina and Rena and her father. I feel like their friendship is one of the most important aspects of the story. The importance of friends and family, having people to fight for and people to fight for you especially during a war.
“Most magicians smell like ink and starlight. The world bends around them.”
All in all, this book has beautiful and magical writing, important themes and a provoking and gripping story! It will haunt you longer after you have finished it. The characters are so real and lovable. You definitely won’t regret reading this book! Despite being a middle grade, it is suitable for readers of all ages!