Monday, December 8, 2014

A Vintage Reads Review: Toads and Diamonds

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson, March 30, 2010. 288 pages. Published by Henry Holt and Co. Source: Library.
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.

It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.

Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?
First Sentence:
Diribani ran toward the stepwell. 

And here we meet yet again to discuss one of my library whim picks. What first drew my attention to Toads and Diamonds would have to be the cover. I thought it was pretty and I was curious to see what the book was about and because I enjoy trying new authors and books.

While it was the cover that first caught my attention, I was quickly pulled into the world of Diribani and Tana and their struggle with the gifts given to them by the goddess. From the very beginning Heather Tomlinson's writing grabbed my attention with her ability to capture the feel of the setting and the culture of Tana and Diribani. Toads and Diamonds was a pleasant surprise and one that I'm glad to have stumbled upon at the library.

As far as I can recall, Toads and Diamonds was the first book set in India that I've read. While I don't know how accurate it was, as I've never been to India and am unfamiliar with their customs, I enjoyed reading this book. So, I'll leave the accuracy checking to those who know better. But, as a reader who enjoys reading about places that are richly depicted, I can find no fault with this one as Ms. Tomlinson's writing brought the book to life.
   I am so failing at writing this review as the words are just not coming or sounding right. It is one of those books were you really enjoy it but cannot find a way to express it. Just know that the writing and characters are what really makes this an interesting read. From the way the author captured the wet and dry seasons of India, to the struggle both girls faced as they tried to make sense of the abilities granted to them, all the way right up to the relationship between the two sisters is why I found this to be one fun read. Seriously, if you are looking for a diverse read then look no farther. I'm pretty sure that y'all will end of enjoying this one as much as I did.

Diribani and Tana were two interesting characters. One of the reasons I found myself enjoying their stories is that they were so different from one another and yet they still (mostly) got along well. But, it was how they managed the gifts given to them and how the ability fit into their personalities that I find to be the most interesting. At first, I couldn't even see how these abilities would tie into the story and what their purpose was in the big picture, but as the story progressed and hardships chased the sisters, I came to see that there was more to the story then what I first assumed.
    While I don't want to enter spoiler-mode here, I will say that the fantastical, both girls being gifted with an odd ability, really added to the story because it took both characters outside of their comfort zone and forced them to look deep within themselves. I guess you could say that I loved seeing how the circumstances had the girls digging deep into themselves to find out what they were made of.

Well, I really do believe that there's zero hope of this review making any sense at this point. My brain's tired and my enjoyment of this book is not translating into coherent words....

Final Verdict: Toads and Diamonds- Totally satisfying!

Toads and Diamonds earns

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