Hotel Magnifique is a beautiful, imaginative book starting with the cover that showcases a skeleton key necklace and other illustrations that are relevant to the story within. The cover caught my eye and the synopsis captured my curiosity from the get go. A magical, traveling hotel? Sisters fighting to stick together despite powerful magic keeping them apart? Count me in!
Though it was the promise of magic and mischief that encouraged my decision to read this book, I quickly realized that this story was one that I could barely put down! Any time I had to pause my reading I found myself quickly pulled back into the world of the Hotel Magnifique and our protagonist, Jani.
Jani and her sister, Zosa, are young, orphaned, and enchanted by the idea of the Hotel Magnifique- a much talked about magical hotel that shows up in an old alley every now and then and admits guests by invitation only. With luck and a little magic, the sisters are given jobs within the hotel and are immediately thrust into an adventure that is full of hotel rooms that move and women who turn their contracted entertainers into birds when they’re not on a stage in an elegant dress, singing.
Not everything is velvet curtains and scenic destinations though. There is a dark side to the hotel, hidden by magic and a man who abuses his power in an attempt to gain even more. The classic good vs. evil ensues with lots of creative storytelling and descriptive wording that made it easy to picture every scene in my head. Hotel Magnifique is a stunning debut that was like escaping into a very strange dream and I loved every last page!
Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy from Penguin Random House
Profanity/Language: 13 religious exclamations; 12 mild obscenities; 2 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: A reference is made to children that are suspected of having magical abilities being drowned or burn to death; a woman prepares to defend herself by using a kitchen knife against a man threatening her with a switchblade; a brief scene occurs where a young woman cuts her foot on a piece of a broken decoration and some blood is mentioned; a girl thinks about how much time has passed since her mother has died; a young woman observes a brief scene with an evil woman removing the eye of a young woman being punished, several references are made to this punishment throughout the book; a mention is made of a bird biting off a piece of someone’s ear; a man is reported to have been in an altercation and has a split lip and grazed knuckles; a ruckus breaks out between several men and a woman is shoved roughly by a man, a man is also stabbed with a knife and blood is mentioned; a young woman accidentally slices her arm on a sharp object in a brief scene; a brief scene occurs where a young woman observes a door closing on her sisters fingers, slicing them off completely, some blood is mentioned; a man in power threatens to kill people; a brief scene occurs where a man smashes a window with his fist; a woman uses her heel to smash an eye that she removed from a woman, and using magic, this causes the woman with the missing eye to die; a young woman causes a nightmarish scene to occur when she releases evil magic, she finds herself in a dark creepy place with screams and moans heard and sees scary creatures, smells rotting flesh; a brief scene occurs where a man kills a woman by crushing her neck, the woman is described to turn gray and smash into many pieces, some blood is mentioned; an injured woman is described to have blood seeping from a gash in her brow; a man is seen who is possibly dead, some blood and injuries are mentioned briefly.
Sex/Nudity: Kissing is referred to; a woman is mentioned to be seen kissing another woman’s bare shoulder; a young woman must change clothing in front of a young man and tells him to turn away, makes a joke about him helping to remove women’s clothing often; a brief scene occurs where a young couple pretend to embrace so they will blend in with the environment and won’t draw attention, a brief kiss ensues; a young man is mentioned to have kiss marks on his neck; a young man wraps his arms around the waist of a young woman and she wonders what it would feel like to kiss him; a young couple kiss and the young man touches the thigh of the woman under the hem of her dress; a man kisses a woman’s knuckles; a man and woman are observed kissing in a brief scene.
Mature Subject Matter:
Magic; loss of a loved one.
Adults are observed drinking champagne and other alcoholic drinks; drugs are mentioned to be used to sedate unknowing people; characters are described as being intoxicated and drunk.