Beautiful Prose in The Girl with the Red Balloon

The Girl with the Red Balloon
The Balloonmakers #1
Katherine Locke
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Genre: YA Historical, Time Travel
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.
ARC provided by the publisher thru NetGalley


Whether or not Ellie was meant to be there at that time and place remains to be seen. It could have been an amazing coincidence that she traveled to Germany to be just in time to be there when the red balloon ‘malfunctioned’ and propelled itself down to the future. The story eventually revealed why Ellie was whisked back in time and why it was possible; still the timing itself. For all we know, Ellie could not have go with her class on their field trip. 

Ellie, Kai, and Mitzi may have been the main characters but I really didn’t see much in them, no matter how heart-tugging their individual narratives supposed to be. Or how there was much fluff between Ellie and Kat eventhough it made me giggly. There are three I would love their stories to be expanded: 

I was more interested in Ashasher’s story, not only for the feathers around his head but he had this air about him that reminded me of a cross more serious and broody Howl and an eccentric monk in one of those training montages. What’s your story, you feathered Gandalf? 

The glimpses of Benno’s, Ellie’s grandfather, life before, during and after his life at the concentration camps were intriguing and insightful. I would love to read more about him. 

And I couldn’t forget about Felix. He might have had some hidden agenda, working for the higher-ups and all; he might be a right bastard; but he might play an anti-hero role in a book to come. *crosses fingers* 

The risk with writing historical fiction and time travel, combined, is to find a way that the characters, whether or not they’re special snowflakes, don’t get to mess with history and time. There’s so much one can do about time travel, special powers, and destiny until you spit on common sense and just put in a ‘Duh, it’s because of magic.’ 

The Girl with the Red Balloon tells of a historical/time-travel story that knows the intricacies of time. It does not put out an MC who is essential to be in that particular time to influence big events but, instead, focuses on what it sets out to do: telling the tale of the girl with the red balloon and setting the domain of the balloonmakers. 

And the author writes in beautiful prose.


"Be a sponge."

Ayanami Faerudo

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds so unusual. I love historical fiction and magical realism, so I’ll probably like this one. I can’t wait to read it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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