Publisher: Create Space (April 16, 2014)
Category: Fantasy, Magic, Fairytale
Tour Date: October, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 180 Pages
“When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says “Goodbye,” and Sends you to the next world.
After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her.
Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.”
Sophie's parents have died, leaving her an orphan. Even more importantly, leaving her the only one who can release their spirit from the City of the Dead. When a person dies, their loved one must send them on to the next world by making a gruesome and dangerous journey north and up a mountain to the City of the Dead in order to say 'Goodbye' and release their spirit. Sophie has every intention of going to the City, but not saying goodbye, she wants to tell her parents to come right back where they came from. When her parents die, Sophie is taken in by her distant and seemingly harsh grandmother, who is not going to make it easy on Sophie to get what she wants.
From the introduction, I felt intrigued by the City of the Dead. Then when we meet Sophie, I was even more interested. Sophie is smart, daring and willing to learn. Without the blurb I couldn't quite place Sophie's age, at times she seemed much younger than her 12 years and at times older. However, this is a journey where Sophie grows up and learns valuable life lessons about grief, friendship, and saying goodbye. This short story is told in a fairytale style with third-person narration that let me be able to imagine the trials and tribulations of Sophie's journey that included a train, bus, boat, vans and mountains as well as the mysterious City of the Dead. I was glad that unlike many traditional fairytales, Sophie is the hero of her own story.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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Craig Staufenberg is a writer and filmmaker living in NYC.
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Sophie woke at the table the next day before the sun rose and let habit
and obligation drag her from her seat and pull her to the bakery. Setting
her body in front of the floured marble table and searching her chest,
she found a hole where her heart used to beat, and when she dove into this
abyss she felt something close to cold, but far from feeling itself.
That morning her dough would barely budge when she touched it and the
loaves she handled wouldn’t rise an inch and the bread she placed in the oven
left their fires cold and flat and dead no matter how long they spent among
The baker saw this and responded to her as if she were a stubborn slab
of dough. She pressed patiently and consistently and with constant motion,
asking Sophie this and that, pushing and pulling at her, all without mentioning
her failures, without forcing a point, yet unrelenting and unwilling to toss her
to the side.