As of this writing/posting of the review for The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill I am only halfway through. I published before finishing as I had some ideas I wanted to put down as I was/am not completely sure why this book has critics excited. It is terribly slow, and the real action does not start to take place until the middle of the book. And then, when things are about to finally happen, the orphan that meets the Ogress is asleep with fever, so she does not even know she is finally fulfilling the titles promise! Therefore, have any children read this; and what was your honest opinion? As I am thinking the adults think it is good, but we kids might not.
As I read, I started to take notes thinking that there were going to be points that would be important and if I write things down, it helps me remember for later. But I stopped when I realized I had a page full and still over half the book to go. I am assuming that I know the “big plot reveal” as nothing has been too tricky. The narrator’s tone is slow and none of the characters really are likeable. Partly because there are too many (and that is not including the 15 orphans that so far only a handful have a real story arc) and not overly fleshed out. There is too much fantasy tossed into the middle of what feels like a realistic story. Such as one of the orphans can hear the stories from the house when it was a tree, there is the Ogress, dragons (and frankly an odd twist to them that might not be appropriate for aimed ages, which I would say is strong eight to 12 or young 13), and non-crow characters speaking the language of the Crows.
The story point is to go back to the wonderful, lovely village of before the book opens. And that the people of the town need to help each other once again. We must stop prejudices, hate and the fear. Of course, that is because of the mayor and all his obvious villainous actions, and you need to have people “get the glitter out of their eyes” (so to speak) and stop following an empty, charismatic leader. But I feel we could have gotten that without a lot of “extra” and just focused on the three or four main people.
This is not to say I did not like the book, I am just not loving it. I will finish it and think a few kids will like it, especially if you have a strong middle grade reader who likes a story with buildup and hopefully some action at the end. I am not sure how the villain will be revealed/dealt with so I am only giving this a three and hope for no surprises there.