Review: The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

22365577The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani
Published: May 10th 2014 by Twilight Times Books
Pages: 184

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…
"They spent the next hour talking "violin talk"-harmonies, favorite composers and violinists, trills, pizzicato, vibrato and other techniques. Time just flew by. He was just as passionate as she was and she couldn't wait to see him playing Brahms in a tuxedo." 
Thank you Mark My Words Publicity and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

The Luthier's Apprentice surprised me in more ways than I imagined. If this book has been bad then I would have been able to say that I was fooled by the beautiful cover. This novel, however, has plot twists at every corner and is above all, filled with mystery. It's unlike any other book in the young-adult genre I've ever read, and definitely deserves the four stars I didn't think I would have given.

A book of which its main storyline is centered around music and violins usually gives the impression that it's not made for everyone. I can agree on certain terms. You will always have these people who are not into classical music or don't want to read about it. I would have considered myself to be a part of that group, if not for this book. There are still many names and musical definitions in here that I have never heard about. I really am not the biggest fan of classical music and its history, nor do I know much about it. Still I enjoyed this part of the story very much. It's different in a good way, and it's obvious that the author combined her real-life passion with writing. I can honestly say that I learned so many new things while reading, and yet I never felt like I was reading a textbook.

The actual plot itself has, as it's obvious by now, a lot of musical elements to it, but also lots of mystery. From the start of the book when I thought this was going to be a slow read, the story started progressing and it built up lots of mystery. There's a continuous flow of questions and answers, and still I found myself to be desperate near the end of the book. I was trying my very best to retrieve the last pieces of the puzzle just because I was so intrigued. My guesses were therefore sometimes very close, yet in the end I never got it right. There are just a lot of plot twists involved that kept the story going. On a side note, I also loved how the author combined facts and historical figures with a paranormal storyline. There are so many options to continue with if that's the case, and it's clear that Calvani used it well.

It doesn't happen very often when I read a book where almost all the characters are lovable. Ranging from protagonists to side kicks to minor characters, they all had a personality of their own. They all had their flaws and they call came across realistically. Some maybe more developed than others, but I didn't pay that much attention to it as I was already gripped by the story. If it wasn't for the characters themselves, I often found myself being very interested in certain characters's backstories. Corey's background with his dad and other ancestors is a great example of that, especially it eventually all comes together in the end.

The only downfall this book had for me was the villain that shouldn't be named because of possible spoilers. This villain had my eyes rolling way too many times to come across as believable. To be honest, I'm not very picky when it comes to villains in books. There only has to be considered with the fact that villains themselves should have this vibe of evilness and cruelty. With this one, however, I had to constantly wrap my head around the fact that people were actually scared of her. In my mind, she looked like a spoiled princess who's so-called revenge has gone to her head. It just would have been great if she wasn't like any other villain in young-adult books with those typical evil lines and luxurious attire.

To write about something lighter again, I found the romance between Emma and Corey to be sweet and enjoyable. They began to know each other through a friendship, like normal teens would do. The normal frienship soon turned into flirting, so I knew this had to turn into romance eventually. That transition is done well because it was built up slowly and believable. You have your typical teen romance but because of the involvement of the plot, it still felt like something different. The Sherlock Holmes quoting between the two of them felt a little bit over the top in the beginning. There was already so much going on and I didn't need another teen obsession which didn't feel right. It also had to be that the two had to have that also in common. Yet it soon grew on me when I realised I have the same thing, but with many other books I've read.

In other words, The Luthier's Apprentice is a beautiful combination of music, mystery and paranormal. It's not something you find a lot, and because of that you should read it if you're intrigued after reading the synopsis. With characters you surprisingly get to love, a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat and an eyeroll worthy cliché here and there, The Luthier's Apprentice is an excellent read.

Aurélie Cremers is an eighteen-year-old living in Belgium. As an active member on Goodreads, Edelweiss and Amazon, she's always spreading her reviews to express her opinion and influences her followers to read the books she fairly enjoyed. When she's not writing, you can find her at her local bookstore or in a classroom. With her blog, "Exploring Pages", Aurélie hopes to gain a larger public in the near future and to continue that what she'll always love doing: writing.

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