The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Eva Ibbotson is one of my favourite authors, and The Star of Kazan is, in my opinion, her best book.

The Star of Kazan is the story of Annika - a young orphan girl in Vienna, who gets found and adopted by a servant and a housekeeper (Ellie and Sigrid) in the house of three eccentric professors. Annika is one of the reasons to like this book. She's a great heroine - she's simple, honest, extremely brave, kind and imaginative. She is an extremely engaging character. Even in the first two or three chapters, you fall in love with this little grey-eyed girl who desperately wants a dog and who loves to act out the stories that she hears, and as the book continues you start to care more and more about her.

The other, secondary characters of this book are also great. Everyone from Lorelai, the snobbish girl living next door, to Ellie, who is just about the sweetest person anyone can imagine, to Pauline, the agoraphobic girl who is Annika's best friend - each and every character steals your heart. Zed - who comes in later in the story and helps Annika at a very crucial time in her life - is also a great character. Of course, the high point of Ibbotson's characterization is that even Rocco, a horse, is so well-written that you come to sympathize with him.

The setting is another great thing about this book. Ibbotson really makes Vienna alive. The sounds, colors and especially the tastes of Vienna are portrayed gorgeously in this book. You can feel the author's love for this place in every page of this book. Another great description is that of the cooking. This book is likely to make you hungry, because of the brilliant descriptions of the Christmas trout and the cakes and pastries of Vienna. Ibbotson's descriptive skills must be praised. By the end of this book, you fall in love with this city and all of its inhabitants.

Ibbotson writes from a variety of different points of view, switching from one to another frequently, but you are not often confused. The language she uses is simple and to the point, and there is no additional fluff in the book. Her plot is quite interesting. But if we were to sum up just the literary aspects of this book then we would not even get a fraction of the true value of this book. The Star of Kazan is a book that can make you laugh, and more importantly a book that can make you cry - and that, in my opinion, is its greatest achievement.

Frankly, a book that no childhood is complete without.





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