Here's the mysterious but intriguing blurby-blurb!
"The Bell family's ancestors were showered with honors, gifts and grants of land. In exchange, they have bestowed a Gift, once every 25 years, on the town. The Gifts have ranged from a statue to a bell tower with stained-glass windows, but now it's Darius's father's turn - and there is no money for an impressive gift. It looks as though a wheelbarrow full of vegetables is the best they can do. Darius is determined to preserve the family honor, and when an earthquake reveals something glorious, he thinks he's found the answer..."
I may be 19 but that isn't going to stop me from reading children's novels that drop kicks me in the Feels. If someone tries to judge you for reading Children's Novels, you should just yank their hair and kick dirt in their eyes and they'll totally leave you alone, or tell on you.
- Stop! Wait a minute.
There are spoilers beyond this line, so if you're up to ruining this book for yourself, then proceed right ahead but you need to fill my cup and pour some...not...liquor...in it. Perhaps some cordial? Kids drink cordial, right? Yeah. So my mum told me that there are spoilers ahead so you probably shouldn't -
Darius Bell is not that type of book. It's the type of book that you glance twice at, space out as you try to figure out if you want it or not, if it's worth the effort and the money, and if the reviews on Goodreads is actually any accurate. Sure enough, you grab it and you put it way down on the list of the more important books to read. OP Shops are great for these type of books, and only sometimes you'll get these masterpieces that make you fuh-reak out.
What this book had was its cover. It instantly drew me to it, made me pick it up, and actually read the entire blurb with the same level of interest. I can appreciate a well designed and intriguing cover.
Concerning the blurb, I also have a real turn-on for anything relating to a grand something. Whether it's in Graceling for certain people who have rare gifts known as, 'Grace of ----', or in The Hunger Games where there's the looming fear of the being sent to your death in the arena. I absolutely love things that are doom and gloom. In this case, it's the form of a Gift to the town. That's what sold me on actually dishing out the money for it.
Overall it's super appealing, and that's what these are for! It's like the makeup and heels of the book world; To catch someone's eye.
Cover: 6.5 out of 10
Blurb: 6 out of 10
BASICALLY, because I can't find the actual summary anywhere on the internet because this book is just that hipster and unknown, here is Ashleigh's Rough Summary.
Darius Bell is the son of a used-to-be wealthy family named the Bells. They live in a broken down, practically a shack-like mansion because the father, Hector, holds strong to the pride of the family name and lives in denial that they're still rich and still a highly respected name in the town. All their staff live on the property for free and basically, in order for the family to keep their estate is that their family has to come up with a Gift. It could honestly be anything, but because of their richness, it's normally something quite dramatic. Darius's Father can't afford anything big or dramatic, but yearns to live up to the family name.
After an earthquake cracks open a huge gash on their estate, revealing a cavern with a majestic glittering pool, Darius comes up with the idea to use that as the Gift for their generation, and to save the day.
And here's where I get foggy but basically the mayor gets owned because the Gift is paid with a humble cart of food for the needy in the town (And that being all that the Bell's can actually give), Hector humbles himself and realises that he ain't all that, and Darius most likely got a girlfriend out of revealing a cavern to the town with beautiful glittering fake gold.
Everybody wins. Except the mayor, because he is a major butt. The biggest butt of them. A butt bigger than the moon. Butt.
Where do I even begin with this book? What do I say? What is there really to say? Sure, it's a children's book so it's not going to contain things AS HEAVY as, let's say most YA Novels where it must contain drugs, alcohol, suicide, depression, same sex gender attractive, teen pregnancy, parents divorcing, and basically whatever else can be seen on Degrassi, but if Harry Potter and Wonder is included as a children's novel and can contain plenty of things that are heavy and moral-of-the-story type of elements in it, Darius Bell can't excuse itself.
There were a few times where I thought, 'Okay something has to happen soon or be the cataclysm for the story to propel it forward or get us out of this strawberry dialogue for the past page or two.' and looked at other novels to see what I had to read next. At the end of the actual book, I put it down and gave a brief nod and then went onto the next novel. I didn't stop and think about the journey I just went through or my attachment to the characters (Cos there weren't any, to be honest) and I just thought that it was a cute sweet little short story that could have had bits taken out of it to have concluded earlier.
While it wasn't a bad book to me, it wasn't a great one either. It was just sweet and one that I think kids would appreciate to have a plot that they could or might relate to (A child trying to help his parents and coming up with his own quest to accomplish that.) and that's what I really took away from it.
Darius Bell: You're adorable but at the same time, you do remind me of those little boys that I work with who run off and try to dig a hole to China. Stop. It's annoying and you just need to entertain yourself by not doing something so destructive. But, I guess this is the exception to the rule because you actually helped out your family, I guess....
You're still annoying xx
The Rest of the Bells: The mother is someone I pictured always rolling her eyes and patting her husband's head, Hector (The Dad) is just so agitating. Obviously I imagined that he was written to be this stubborn and prideful man, but it was SO hard to get over my dislike for him. When he'd go on his tangents I just wanted to skim read because the dislike was so....eh.
The Mayor and his clique: Ew. So ew. You're all ew. Mayor is uber eww with a side of major ew. You got what you deserved in the end. Boom. Drop the mic.
Every other character in the story: I am so sorry but I do not remember you, or even tried to remember you. There was a lot of Darius and his brother and then some random neighbour girl and ugh, I dunno. My attention was elsewhere.
- The cover! Ugh, so pretty, so dazzling. I'm like a crow for pretty and sparkly things.
- There WAS technically character development, which was nice. Hector humbled himself, Darius...changed...somehow, and the mayor got his justice technically.
- The writing was pretty good! I could definitely imagine the strawberry fields and the decrepit house in full vision as I read.
Things I didn't like:
- Not TOO many female characters. Sure, there was Darius's girlfriend, his mother, the scientist (Rock lady?), and some of the staff, but they didn't ever really do anything. Darius's mother just kept telling her husband to calm down and relax. The scientist just told him that it was fool's gold. Darius's girlfriend didn't do a whole lot of anything except for give him a strawberry. It was hard to feel anything for these characters.
- The length. At times I honestly thought that an entire part could have been taken out to shorten this story.
- Darius! DARIUS!
I'm rating this book a solid 4 out of 10. It's written for the cute moments of in between the heavy hard-hitting books.
[Also, there are no favourite quotes because I couldn't honestly find one that I liked or stuck out to me. You win some you lose some!]