Top critical review
A magical retelling of Les Miserables for middle grades
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2020
I was provided a free digital copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I read the description for Christina Soontornvat's ,"A Wish in the Dark" and saw that it was compared to Les Miserables, I was intrigued. I read Victor Hugo's book in high school and watched the most recent musical movie when it came out in theaters and have also seen it on stage in 2014. So I know the source material very well.
'A Wish in the Dark" follows Pong-an orphan raised in a prison, his friend Somkit, and the prison warden's daughter, Nok. Pong is placed in the Jean Val Jean role-he escapes from the prison (is not released) and is helped by a kindly old monk. Nok is the Javert of the story, who believes that the law is to be followed in all instances. Soontornvant weaves a little bit of magic and world building into her tale, and while it takes a bit long to get going (especially for a middle grades book-most of the action happens in the second half, which I think would cause many children to become disinterested before getting to that point), the story ends well. This is something I may suggest to the elementary book club I co-chair.