Karina’s Silver Shoes is a fairy-tale parody, or something like that. I don’t know, I don’t get this book.
Karina’s Silver Shoes by Denise Marques Leitao
She’s got the fate of a kingdom in her hands—or rather, in her shoes.
14-year old Karina is not sure what she wants, but she knows what she’s found: fascinating silver shoes. Fascinating, dangerous, and potentially evil. On the upside, they do bring cool visitors.
When two princesses ask her to go to Whyland, a kingdom in a parallel dimension, to destroy the shoes, of course Karina accepts. Who would refuse a free trip to an alternate world?
Advised by a wise master and threatened by a beautiful stepmother, Karina goes on a journey with a princess to defeat a powerful witch. But Whyland is nothing like she expected. Karina finds herself stuck in a kingdom she doesn’t understand, with no clue on who to trust. Before saving anyone, she’d better save herself—if she figures out how.
From Brazilian / Canadian writer Denise Marques Leitao comes Karina’s Silver Shoes, a teen parody of fantasy and fairy-tale tropes with many female characters, friendships between girls and women, and some subtle romance.
The book starts off with Karina buying silver shoes in a yard sale (how did those shoes get there???). The shoes seem to possess some kind of power and she ends up going with two sisters that show up in her house at night, who told her they needed the shoes to save their kingdom in an alternative universe. If that doesn’t sound crazy to you, this is only the start. I didn’t understand Karina’s motivations for anything, really, she’s a follower and does pretty much whatever people tell her to. She believes everyone she meets without much doubt (especially in the beginning). I don’t know, I just didn’t get it.
“And you believe everything you hear?
Karina scratched her head. “I really have to stop that, like when two girls came to my room and told me I needed to help them save the world and defeat an evil witch. Believing what people tell me, what nonsense.”
The “main” side-character Cayla is very annoying and should just keep her mouth shut. I really didn’t like Cayla for a few reasons. First, she acts like every question Karina asks, is utter nonsense and that Karina should know better. Karina just came from an entirely different world, so cut her some slack. Second, there is this love-interest and Cayla is into him but she really acts stupid about it. Sometimes she says he’s like a brother to her and other times she’s obsessively jealous of some other girl he works with. It does not make sense.
Beside this one side-character, I could not understand the family dynamics in this story. This might just be because I haven’t been paying enough attention to it, but I just couldn’t make out who was who. Who the parents of the sisters (Cayla and whatever the other girl was called) were, I still have no clue. Also, I feel like everyone was constantly switching sides between good and evil and, honestly, after finishing the book I still don’t know who the antagonist really was.
“There are many things anyone could do. Each person is faced with infinite possibilities. It doesn’t matter why you choose one or the other, or why life draws you one way or another. What matters is not why, or what exactly, but your choices along the way. Perhaps any girl could have done it. But not all of them would have done it.”
To be completely honest, I have not read this entire book. I have skimmed a couple of chapters at about 2/3 of the book. I didn’t feel like it was worth my time and the storyline was just not interesting enough for me to continue reading everything. If I could summarize the storyline very shortly it would be something like this: girl goes to foreign land, travels from one castle to an evil witches’ castle, and back, and then back again, and then back again to save the land!
I am giving this book 2 stars (perhaps 2.5), simply because after a few days, the only things I really remember from reading this book are how annoying I thought Cayla was, how confusing everything was and how uninteresting the story-line was. I also had hoped to see a bit more about Brazilian culture, since the author is part Brazilian, but there was nothing about it in the book. I don’t know whether I would really recommend this book, it wasn’t really bad, it might just have been not to my taste.
Karina’s Silver Shoes by Denise Marques Leitao comes out on September 18th, you can find it on goodreads here.