All teen and kid member reviews for Through the Skylight

Teen, 13 years old Written bydragonsrule April 14, 2013

A fun plot, without much depth in characters

Through the Skylight was slightly disappointing. The story, overall, wasn't that original, and the characters didn't have much depth. I really would have appreciated, with six main children in the story, if there had been a greater and more interesting variation in characters and personality. One thing, however, that I did appreciate in regards to characterization was how though Jared viewed himself differently from how his sisters viewed him, the two sides of the story still matched up. Still, Jared wasn't especially interesting to me. He seemed like what the author must have viewed as a "average" boy: he skateboarded, loved video games, wasn't especially interested in school, and thought he had to protect his sisters. However, by the end of the story, he had grown some in order to protect everyone. Shireen, Jared's biological sister, was maybe slightly more interested in schoolwork, and was definitely more organized; she also took great offense at her older brother's attitude towards males protecting "weaker" females. I almost liked the littlest sister, Miranda, best. She was very smart, saw things in more depth than her adopted siblings, and was the first to realize what was going on. She also seemed the least contrived, making her own mistakes but not truly fitting a stereotype role. The other set of children, Maria, Francesca, and Rashid, were probably more annoying to me. Maria and Francesca both came across as fairly intelligent, despite their blindness in regards to Fra Bartolomeo, which seemed to be simply because he was a monk and his "vision" fit their fantasies of being great heroines of the Christian church. Rashid was very surly and clearly had trust issues -- legitimate ones. Maldini's signore was not the best role model, seeing as he purposefully sent Jared, Shireen, and Miranda into danger. In the story, this was smoothed over because "he knew they'd be fine," because he's read the book that tells what will happen. However, he also tells the kids that he can't tell them what to do for fear of changing the ending, so it didn't seem like a very legitimate reason to endanger even more kids. The book addresses religious issues with a reasonable enough degree of openness and respect, though there is a scene where Maria demands to know if they acknowledge the cross, realistic for someone of her standing from the time of the crusades. The book also discusses family, and how adopted siblings are just as much your siblings as biological ones. There is violence, though most graphic violence is with fantastic creatures, however there is talk of selling children into slavery, torture, and blackmail. Silvio drinks and smokes, and faces repercussions due to the drinking; the parents ban the children from most internet access, but spend their time on Facebook; and the crusades are shown in a very honest and open light. The book has an unusual split-up of character gender, with four girls and two boys, but this is counteracted by the fact that the three animals (discounting the male dragon), Silvio the faun, Maldini the cat, and Lorenzo the stone lion, are all male, as are most of the adult characters. This, and the fact that Jared is the main character, serve to make the book appealing to boys, when otherwise it might have seemed to be aimed at girls. For people who want a fantasy that is fairly reminiscent of the Inkheart trilogy, and faintly similar to the Drowned Child, this is a good story, despite the fact that it might have been better served as two books, the first focusing on Rashid, Francesca, and Maria, and the second being essentially what Through the Skylight is.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models