PARIS BY STARLIGHT BY ROBERT DINSDALE | BOOK REVIEW
TITLE : Paris By Starlight
AUTHOR : Robert Dinsdale
GENRE : Fantasy, Magical Realism, Adult, Fiction
FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐( 5 Stars)
DATE OF PUBLISHING : 05 Nov 2020
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, and Random House UK, Cornerstone, and Del Ray Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Paris By Starlight is a fantasy/magical realism book by Robert Dinsdale. This is my first experience with this author, and I can confidently say it won’t be my last book from him either. I didn’t know what I will be getting out of this book and going in blind really helped me enjoy it. The story is so descriptive and full of imagery that will enchant you, make you fall in love with the world Robert has crafted for us. It’s slow-pacing, and multiple POVs help us understand the characters in a way character-driven stories usually do. The story has a fine-balance of character & plot-driven moments and makes the smooth transition between the two without being too disruptive. The folklores/fairytales told in the book was filled with little nuggets of wisdom. The story may appear on the outside at first glance, a fantasy/magical realism story, but at the core of it is a human story. One that will make us think and reflect on later.
The story is about Isabelle and Levon and the magical world the People brought into existence by believing in it. Isabelle came to Paris in search of her musician father, who left her family when she was six. During her search, she meets with an immigrant who leads her to Levon. Levon is one of the immigrants who came to Paris from the old country when they were forced out of their homes. Struggling to make ends meet Levon, and his family struggle, as they are illegally living in Paris. Levon’s grandmother has always been a firm believer in their world and the stories handed down to them from their ancestors. She used to keep the traditions and live by night to honor them. As days move forward, they face the reality of an old magical world rising from Paris, spreading the enchantment across the city. With each day that goes by, Levon’s grandmother gets weaker, and in her death, she wants her family to live by the old country’s traditions. The city wakes up with hope and magic making some Parisians fear for their country, and its future. What would ultra-nationalists do in the wake of enchantments, magic, and everything unfamiliar growing out of Paris? Can two cultures co-exist in peace and harmony, or will fear rule people in erecting walls to divide them?
The story is so poignant and thought-provoking it blew my mind. I loved the magical journey it took me through the nighttime Paris with glowing flowers, plants, and magical creatures spreading joy, happiness, and wonder. Seeing Paris through a new lens was simply beautiful to experience. This was a reading experience that made me happy, sad, angry, and fearful all at once. The feeling of the onslaught of all the emotions flowing through me after reading it is marvelous. I loved how the author weaved into it the current political climate and scenarios that are relatable to everyone. The relevance of the theme is what stood out to me in the story. The human stories the author weaved into the novel, is profound and will help in the exposition of the subject matter further. The two sides of the story are shown to us through viewpoints offered to us by the characters. They do a fantastic job un dissecting the concept and getting to the heart of the matter and where it matters the most.
The pacing is slower and reads like historical fiction with magic in it. The slower pacing highly compliments the books. It also makes you feel connected to not just the world, but also its characters. The writing is exceptionally beautiful and poetic. The immersive and descriptive writing in this novel helps in bringing forward vivid imagery of the world in the reader’s mind. The story is told in four parts with interludes in-between the novel, breaking it up and setting up for the new changes happening in the world.
I loved the characters and how each of them contributed to the story. The execution of the character’s depth and layers were wonderfully done. I enjoyed reading the different POVs, helping us understand what drove each of them into action and how they dealt with their problems. The small nuances we got from the different perspectives supported the stitching together of the bigger picture.
The plot is essentially the destruction of the fragile peace that was holding the communities together. The demonizing of the others, hatred fueled by uncertainty, changing of the familiar, and fear of the unknown, and new things all add to the story each taking up the charge to lead it forward. The beauty and the ugly all come together in the epic finale, making us question our own values, judgments, and ethics. The story tells us the dangers of fearmongering, false-superiority of nations, and of losing humanity when it’s the most needed. It is not just a story of destruction, but a story of love, family, and unifying people. It also talks about being there for one another in times of good and bad. The moral of the story is one to keep in our minds when we as humans fight against one another in the name of man-made borders. The divisive mentality only causes destruction, and it comes with great devastation for the community.
Overall, I will say this is a story that every reader needs to read and understand. It gives us food for thought and makes us reflect and contemplate on the state of the world at present as well. I loved this book and I am giving it 5 stars. If you love reading, beautifully written slow-paced, thought-provoking stories with fairytales woven into the storyline, then you need to pick this book up. It is a gorgeous read and one that needs to be savored slowly. If you love magical realism in stories I highly recommend checking this book out.
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A magical new novel from the critically acclaimed bestselling author of THE TOYMAKERS which will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Erin Morgenstern.
Every city has its own magic…
Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight.
And with every story that Levon’s grandmother tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…
Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon.
But not everyone in Paris is won over by the spectacle of Paris-by-Starlight. There are always those that fear the other, the unexplained, the strangers in our midst. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war?