Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale

ParisbyMy Five Word TL:DR Review : Beautifully written tale of home

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale is an absolutely gorgeous book full of magic, toys and beauty, I loved it and so you may imagine that my expectations were astronomical when it came to Paris by Starlight and whilst I might not have loved this book as much as The Toymakers it certainly demonstrates the writing chops of this particular author.

The story is essentially a tale of home, and the fact that home can be found anywhere that family resides, intertwined with a love story of two characters searching for something more.

Isabelle is a young musician.  She trawls the streets of Paris, playing her lute at bars.  Essentially she’s looking for the father who left home when she was only a child.  Isabelle’s father was also a musician and Isabelle hopes that she might draw his attention by playing the precious lute that he gave her.  One evening Isabelle finds herself responsible for the care of a young lost girl and this is when she meets Levon and his family, refugees living a hidden life in Paris.

The People, as they are known, were cast out of their own country where they lived and worked on the landlocked sea.  They’ve travelled thousands of miles carrying their few belongings and clinging to thoughts of safety and new beginnings.  Eventually, their traditions, cultures and stories create a magic of their own, the rooftops are full of night blooming flowers and beautiful birds, water dogs begin to appear and underground caverns lit by phosphorous plants appear.  More People flock to the City, keen to find a home amongst their own and the magic spreads further.  Unfortunately, not everyone welcomes these changes and soon enough the People find themselves in a war between those who live by day and those who live by night.

What I really loved about Paris by Starlight is the writing.  Dinsdale writes with a beauty and style that is really captivating and brings scenes to life with vibrant detail.  The magic here is captivating and well wrought and without doubt this envisaging of Paris is something truly wonderful to read about.  I can see where the comparisons to Gaiman come from with the place being split between two worlds, in a similar way that Neverwhere existed beneath the streets of London.

The setting and magic are amazing.  Paris is an enchanting place to begin with and really lends itself to the magic created here.  The Eiffel Tower  alive with tendrils and flowers, hotels with underground tunnels and caverns and the many dark clubs where haunting music plays into the night.

We predominantly follow Isabelle and to be honest that’s something of a relief as she is a good character filled with hope and love.  Some of the other characters are less easy to like, they have their own agendas, or are filled with anger and resentment.

In terms of criticisms.  I felt that this could perhaps have been cut a little, only because it felt a little repetitive in some parts and there was a slowing of pace about half way through where I began to wonder if anything more would actually happen.  Obviously, I got past this point and the tension and action were ramped up but for a moment I started to feel like everything was dragging out a little more than I liked and it definitely held things up for me.

I enjoyed Paris by Starlight but I didn’t fall completely in love with it as much as I’d hoped or expected and I think that this lies mainly at my own door, probably because elements of this felt more real than I expected and at the moment I’m all about the escapism.  Without doubt, this is a tale with a message.  It’s about finding home and overcoming adversity in a way that really drives home what is truly important.  There’s a message about acceptance and learning to live amicably with others in spite of differences.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars


Can’t Wait Wednesday : Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale.  This sounds amazing and I loved The Toymakers so I’m very excited for this release:

ParisEvery city has its own magic…

Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandfather has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight.

And with every story that Levon’s grandfather tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…

Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs, only native to Asov, start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon.

But not everyone in Paris is won over by the spectacle of Paris-by-Starlight. There are always those that fear the other, the unexplained, the strangers in our midst. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war?

Expected publication : August 2020