Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Helen the Transartist by Anita Stairs-Oberlick

Helen the TransartistTitle: Helen the Transartist
Author: Anita Stairs-Oberlick
Publisher: Carleton Books
Release Date: October 15, 2014

Twelve-year-old Helen Robley believes she is an orphan. She lives with two adoptive aunts until one day she discovers that the drawings she loves to make become reality. Helen is about to discover she is a "Transartist." Using her magic, she travels to the East Pole, home of the creatures that populate children's imaginations ˗˗ creatures like the Sand Man, Cupids, and Toothfairies, who are nothing like their stereotypes. Helen discovers that the East Pole is her birthplace and learns the fate of her parents before she confronts the vain and evil Queen Narcissa. Helen uses a variety of unconventional tools and techniques against the Queen, and in the end is reminded that beauty is on the inside.


I had a lot of trouble with this one.  Maybe this is just meant for someone younger than me.  But I could not seem to wrap my head around some of the concepts in this book.  For one thing, it seemed that Helen's Aunt Judy was far too accepting of magical powers from the start.  That aside, near the beginning, Helen is pretty much ignored and bullied in her Earth school.  So before she leaves she takes to bullying the bully? And Aunt Judy laughs at this?  I don't get it.  Any adult would not condone this.

Okay, so Helen gets this Transarting power.  She figures it out pretty quickly.  And then she goes to East Pole and we don't see it again for almost the rest of the book, even though that seems to be the premise of the book.

I take issues with the villain, Narcissa.  She is a villain in that she is only narcissistic.  I don't completely understand how the residents of East Pole allow her to hold so much power over them.  She does some spells to make their lives harder and they really just seem slightly annoying.  She makes vague threats like, "don't do what I want and something bad will happen!"

Then you have all the people and creatures that live at East Pole.  I have the most trouble with the cupids.  Mainly because they basically imply that people can't or just don't fall in love on their own.  The cupids decide who loves who.  Like no one really has much of a choice in this.

I don't know.  I think a lot of the problems I have with this book can mainly be explained by my age.  Someone around 10-12 years old would probably enjoy it.  I read a lot of positive reviews, so I really think a younger generation would enjoy this.  I just couldn't.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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