Worlds of Words Middle School Reading Ambassadors Review

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We challenged some fellow book lovers to write a review of a book they recently read. The middle-grade students from Tucson schools who are a part of the Worlds of Words Reading Ambassadors program recently read The Hidden Knife by Melissa Marr. Hoping to spread our passion for reviewing books, Pine Reads held a workshop for these students to guide them through our process of reviewing books and challenged them each to write their own review. It was a great discussion featuring different accounts of the same book, so we’ve compiled this blog to share their thoughts!


“Give them knowledge. Give them love. Give them hopes. That was hope ripples in time were made. Little moves. Big results.”

The Hidden Knife is an epic fantasy story by Meissa Marr. In it, a girl named Vicky sets out on a quest for revenge and enters the elite Corvus School, where she makes allies, not friends. There Vicky learns about the secrets the queen and her courts have hidden. The gargoyles help Vicky and her friends find the answers they’ve been looking for. 

I really liked the fantasy elements in the book. The character development was stunning, and the complexity of the plot was well done. The one thing that wasn’t so great was the ending. The ending was too perfect for the plot. It was very anticlimactic. I wish something a bit more exciting would have happened. At the end, the characters just walk out. Since the author will be publishing a sequel, I believe there should have been a cliffhanger at the end. 

-Kyrene


The Hidden Knife by Melissa Marr weaves together a story of friendship, loss, and family in an intriguing fantasy story full of plot twists. Vicky lives with her family, secluded from everyone. She’s an expert with words and swords. Vicky is happy with her life in the woods with her family, but when a shocking twist of events occurs, she’s thrust into a whole new world. She soon finds herself at Corvus, a school her parents have warned her about. Despite her protests, Milan, a former thief, and Algernon, the queen’s future alchemist, become Vicky’s friends. Together, they try to enact revenge on whoever has caused the grief in Vicky’s life. Throughout the book, the power of friendship and the deception that people aren’t always how they seem are ever-present themes. 

Marr shows that people are very different than they seem. For example, I am fascinated with the queen’s characters. At first, we think that she’s a cold, cruel character contemptuous of Vicky’s family, but throughout the book, we learn more about her and that this is not the case. I think that this adds complexity to the story as well as teaches an important life lesson. 

 -Nia


The Hidden Knife by Melissa Marr highlights the difficulties that come alongside grief and loss. It exemplifies how although these two emotions can cause great suffering, it is important to work through them. Marr’s story begins in a fantastic world of magic, where the Netherwhere has emerged to humans. Both groups are living in harmony until a threat within the throne arises. Over the course of this book, the main character, Victoria, and her supposed enemy, The Glass Queen, work to overcome these not problematic but natural emotions. It is then that they realize what they needed to heal was beside them all along. 

I enjoyed the vivid descriptions and complex character development in the story. The characters closely resembled the nature of real people, deep and complicated. Important social issues are addressed, such as poverty and shifts in power. Marr intertwines these topics with various people, magical creatures, and crucial concepts. The Hidden Knife is the perfect fantasy book for those who wish to look beyond their own lives and into the hearts of others. 

-Quin


“A small act flowed into a towering wave and that is true in any world.”

I feel like this was a very mixed-feeling book. It was very good in the fact that it was fast-paced, and it kept you invested in all the change; however, the ending was very anticlimactic and abrupt because the Queen just took the antidote, and it was over. There was no epic thing to end the book, and it just stopped despite the fact that there is supposed to be a second book. The ending did not set it up for that because there was no mysterious cliffhanger, just a feeling of finality. That is why I feel like this is very mixed. It was good, but then not that great at the same time, which made this book a very interesting read. 

The quote that I stated, I feel, has a very good meaning and is very true — good acts lead to change. I feel that’s something that people in our world really need to understand. I also loved all the different characters; however, I feel like one of the characters, named Ida, who was Victoria’s roommate, faded away. Even though she helped a lot, she eventually got left out of the story and the whole adventure to meet the queen, which was very disappointing because she was one of my favorite characters. Penelope was another one of my favorite characters because, without her, they never would have made it to the Netherwhere.

-Quinn


“Other beings from the Netherwhere were also spilling into this new world. The Opening of the gate was hard to resist.”

This book, The Hidden Knife, had an interesting plot and very complex characters. The characters were very imaginative. In the book, everything is interlocked in a satisfying way. But for me, my least favorite part of the book was the ending. And while this book’s characters and complexity hit the mark, the ending did not. It was anticlimactic. The author built all this action for the middle but nothing at the end. But aside from this, the book was complex. Some scenes interlocked and felt right, but other scenes fell down from the mark and were confusing. 

Although the book had some ups and downs, I believe that the character development was interesting and the magic world that this story took place in was exciting. If the author could have produced more action with the magic of this world, then I would feel much better. Aside from this, I’ve found the book interesting and effective in telling the readers about these complex characters. 

I loved this magic world and how it blended into the human world. I just wish the author delivered more on this fantasy world. I did like this book and am interested to read the sequel, The Hidden Dragon

-Anonymous


I think that the book The Hidden Knife was very good, but it left a very empty ending. Victoria’s perseverance and bravery really shined through. This book was really fast-paced, which made it really gripping. 

Victoria really changed over the course of the book. She became much more independent and brave. At the beginning of the book, she was really cautious and scared, but as the book went on … the fears she used to have disappeared. I do feel that there were a lot of important characters that should have had more of a place in the book; the fact that they were left out of very important scenes, but were included in others.

-Sophie


Compiled by PRR Writer, Taylor Quinn

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