Title: The Fifth Doll
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Format: eBook, courtesy of 47North and NetGalley
Start Date: July 12, 2017
End Date: July 29, 2017
Rating: 3.5 (rounded up to 4) stars
“This, you must do. You cannot understand me and my creations without finding your center, Matrona.”
The chill in her chest abated somewhat. “My center?”
He [Slava] held the doll out to her, and Matrona stared into the glazed face of her miniature.
“You must open your doll.”
The Fifth Doll is the second book by Charlie N. Holmberg I have read. The first was Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, which I read last summer and rather enjoyed.
In Holmberg’s The Fifth Doll, Slava, the local tradesman, has a secret collection of nesting dolls that bear an uncanny resemblance to the townsfolk. When Matrona accidentally stumbles upon this secret, he forces her to be his apprentice to learn the secret of the dolls. As his apprentice, she must open one of her own dolls every three days. But nothing has prepared her for the revelation of opening the fifth doll.
The premise behind this book was really interesting.
I like the fact that the main character, Matrona, was a woman of twenty-six years old rather than a girl. It gave her character more depth, perspective, and knowledge that comes from age. I thought her character was well-developed, and I liked watching her progress from someone aiming to please her parents to an independent woman on a mission to save her village.
The reveal of the implication of the fifth doll was surprising, and it was a twist I did not see coming. As an outsider, I did not necessarily agree with Matrona’s decisions 100% once she learned what she needed to from the dolls, but she did what she had to do and what she thought best, and I can respect that.
Holmberg’s writing is descriptive and easily acceptable. It is seemingly simple on the surface, but much like a nesting doll, is more complex than initially appears. I really enjoy her style of writing, and so far have enjoyed both this and Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet thoroughly. I look forward to reading her next work!
Thank you to NetGalley and 47North for an advanced copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.