Summer and Bird
by Katherine Catmull
Synopsis (via Amazon):An enchanting--and twisted--tale of two sisters' quest to find their parents
When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely--Down--one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen.
With breathtaking language and deliciously inventive details, Katherine Catmull has created a world unlike any other, skillfully blurring the lines between magic and reality and bringing to life a completely authentic cast of characters and creatures.
Summer: One of two main characters, Summer is the older sister. Summer is responsible and big-sisterly... trying to take charge and control the situation when their parents disappear. I really enjoyed every chapter from Summer's perspective... and even though she could be annoying at times (in the "I'm older than you, so we'll do what I say" kind of way that big sisters have) ... it was character appropriate annoyingness, which only made her character stronger.
Bird: One of two main characters, Bird is the younger sister. She shares many characteristics with the creatures after which she was named. She's stubborn and sometimes acts dreadfully, but considering her age, it's all appropriate and she remains likeable, despite some of her actions.
Raven: Summer's Ally in the bird world, I enjoyed this character and would have liked to have found out more about her.
Ben: The mysterious old man who helps Summer out and gives her three gifts. I enjoyed him immensely... and was glad to see him return later in the book.
The Puppeteer: The villian of the story, I found her background to be really interesting, and her habits, especially her eating habits, to be horrifying. I thought she was an excellent villian.
Sarah: Summer and Bird's cat... another character that I *really* wanted to know more about.
Mother: Summer and Bird's mother, and a woman who is more than what she seemed.
Father: Summer and Bird's father, who was a very sad character in the book.
Owl: One more character who I really wished I'd known more about.
Ending: Bittersweet is the only real word for it. I'm hoping more books will be written in this world.
Plot: This plot is rich with the mythology of birds. It's a world where magic exists, and where elements from myths we've all heard (the World Tree and Serpent) are woven in beautifully. Like I've already mentioned, the only thing I wish is that there was more development of the side characters. I still am not sure who exactly Sarah and the Owl were when it came to their own personal motivations. The story itself flows nicely though... but I have to say, the main Villian issues were resolved about 3/4 of the way through the book, which was a great thing, because it left you wondering, "What's going to happen next?!"
Believability of World: Very believable, since it was made clear from almost the beginning, that magic is a part of this world.
Overall Grade: A ~ I really enjoyed reading this book, and my only gripe is that I wanted to know more about the side characters, which is just me being greedy, since the story was about Summer and Bird, and it developed and covered them wonderfully.