Here is the thing about the Toymakers. I really, really wanted to love it. It had everything I could have loved within it’s pages. But, this book was obviously not the book for me, as I really didn’t fall in love with the book in the way that I wanted too.
The first problem, shall we say, that this book encounters is that it isn’t quite what it says on the tin (as so to speak). This book doesn’t really match up to the blurb. And, whilst I completely understand first and foremost, that it would be extremely boring if we knew the entire contents of the book simply from reading the blurb, I do believe the blurb has to at least somewhat represent the contents of the book. Within the case of the Toymakers, sadly this is not what happens. The story which I extracted from the blurb was absolutely nothing that resembled the contents of the actual story. Now whilst this isn’t an issue really the problem isn’t that the two didn’t match up. I don’t mind if I read something that doesn’t match up to the back of the book as long as I enjoy it. The problem is that the book didn’t live up to my expectations from what I deduced from the blurb. Unfortunately, this only leads to a disappointed reader as this book had the potential to be up there with my favourites.
Now there is an awful lot that I do like about this book. I love the magic of the Emporium as it is truly a magical place. I so wished we could have delved into the setting more instead of the characters as the setting is one of the salvaging things from this book, and one of the reasons I finished reading it. I also love Papa Jack’s story line and wish that we could have delved into that further.
So I will present to you the blurb of the book and then I will explain the actual contents of the book showcasing how they differ. The Synopsis:
It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment. The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own.
From this, you too may assume that the book will be centred on the magical world of the Emporium… it is not. The book focuses on the devastating after effects of a war and whilst this is important to acknowledge as a topic, it took over the whole second half of the book. The dark turn of this book was not exactly what I had pictured when I read that this book was perfect for anyone who had read the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (A book I adore) or Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Another book I love).
Had I have known this information going into the book, perhaps I would feel differently about it. With that being said I personally loved the twist at the end! A twist I will not spoil as it was beautiful to read for myself and would like you, should you read it, to have the same experience.
The other issue I had with the book was that I did not love the characters, I wanted to love them, but I couldn’t. That was one of the things that hindered the story for me personally, I couldn’t appreciate the story, because I couldn’t love the characters. The love triangle of Cathy and the two brothers wasn’t to my liking and I often found it cringy.
So, to conclude, I liked the potential of this book, but the book did not live up to the expectations of which came with that potential. I finished reading the book, but I probably would not read it again.