Cover Image: Paris By Starlight

Paris By Starlight

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Member Reviews

I've loved Robert Dinsdale in the past but this one just didn't do it for me. I'm not sure if it's because I went for audio or what. It just dragged. And the magic I've loved from Dinsdale before just wasn't there. The social commentary this was attempting was interesting but it just felt like it was skimming the surface, and overall I just didn't care.
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Nice chilled read, this is what I call fluffy romance, it’s enjoyable and the story pulls together nicely, love the characters and how they progress, very enjoyable
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Del Rey for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely adored Dinsdale's Toymakers, so much so I have now read it twice, and I was excited to get my hands on what he had written next. Peppered throughout with the same magical realism, and written with the same beautiful prose, this was set to be another winner, but for me something was missing. I enjoyed the plot, but the pacing felt a little off. The first half felt slow, laboured, as though it wasn't quite reaching its potential; the second half, darker in tone, and with a quicker pace had much more impact. It was a book of two halves for me. I think this definitely has an audience that will feel the same love for it as I have for Toymakers, but perhaps readers that loved Toymakers will come to this looking for something that isn't quite here. A good read all the same and I'll happily pick up whatever Dinsdale writes next.

2.5 stars
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Unfortunately I haven't finished the book, because it couldn't catch me. I wasn't able to find a connection to the characters and the story. It took quiet long (for my taste) to reveal the fantasy themes  and the female protagonist felt a little cold to me. The writing style though was unique and quiet good. Nevertheless the book unfortunately wasn't able to convince and catch me.
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My first book by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I want to read more from this author now. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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Fans of the magical realism in THE TOYMAKERS won't be disappointed by the author's latest offering. The lyrical prose and enchanting plot combine to create an evocative and memorable story.
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*I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*

Such a beautifully written book, full of hope and growth and family. As well as having the ability to move forward while still being able to hold on to who you are and where you come from. It follows Isabelle who becomes involved with a family of refugees from another land. This family has traveled a very long way with nothing more than a book of fairytales from their home and over time come to realise that maybe these fairytales aren’t just stories after all.

I will say that the pacing if this is very slow which I make it difficult to get through at times and felt longer than it needed to be. However it is a very magical read and I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.
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I honestly feel very apathetic towards this book??? I read it a while ago and it wasn't really memorable. The magical realism was phenomenal really and that part was intriguing but pretty much everything else dragged on and I had a hard time enjoying it.
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I found this book to be hard going and put it down for 2 days without a second thought. I thought of dnf'ing it but forced myself to pick it up again, my love of The Toymakers spurring me on. I quite enjoyed the second half of the book but, overall, it was a bit of a struggle, depressing and the magical realism/fabulism verged on parody.
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Due to Robert Dinsdale’s unique style and my utter love for his previous book, The Toymakers, I couldn’t’ escape referring to it while reviewing Paris By Starlight, so kindly provided to me by the Netgalley and Del Rey.

Both books are truly enchanting; the magic is subtly interwoven into the narrative. The writing is always elegant – at times lyrical, yet acutely to-the-point if a strong massage needs to be delivered.
While the setting for The Toymakers was intimate, the whole story enclosed within the walls of a toy shop, in Paris By Starlight the plot spins around the vast and vibrant city. The Toymakers’ magic was also more subtle, not obvious to every character, while everyone in Paris acknowledged the supernatural.
Both books share motifs of a family saga and Romeo and Juliet-styled romance, collide the magical and the non-magical, and raise deep moral questions. Yet, the contemplations of the Toymakers were lighter and more personal, thus the story felt like a soothing bed-time story, above all. Meanwhile, in his latest novel, Dinsdale debates the challenges of the society at large, portraying the brutal reality of the immigrants in the western civilisation. This subject is so close to our current affairs that, instead of offering you an evening escape into the faraway worlds, it inevitably forces you to ponder over the issues you keep hearing about during the daytime. It also raises your awareness to the difficulties of preserving the cultural heritage of both, the new and the old members of an ever-growing society.

The Toymakers will remain my personal favourite because, let’s face it, it’s much more approachable and comforting, and thus easier to love. It has all the elements a good fairy tale needs – magic, toys, a bit of adventure. On the other hand, Paris By Starlight is more of a dystopian novel wrapped up in a veil of a magic tale. Just like George Orwell’s Animal Farm, it uses naivete as the disguise for serious political and moral concerns, thus making it more difficult to relax over, but also much more important to read.
I’d say, when looking for comfort – reach for The Toymakers, but if you want to wake up your mind – try Paris By Starlight.
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I really wanted to love this book as much as I loved The Toymakers.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the case. Yes, the writing is superb, the author definitely has a way with words which is something I really look for in a book. It felt magical. The concept of the book is really good.  He did a great job writing real-life issues and turn them into magical realism. It is not set in a specific timeline but it looks like it is in the modern-day.

However, at times it felt like a chore. It is a very slow burner. I didn't really enjoy the political aspect of it. I didn't like the relationship between Levon and Isabelle; it felt too rushed and no chemistry.

I did enjoy it but it didn't meet my expectations.
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This book really is a modern fairytale.  This is a really beautifully written story told with such flair and magic but at the same time like all good fairytales it has a very difficult message to tell, that often doesn’t make comfortable reading, but it is told in the most memorable and magical of ways.  This story explores the meaning of love, family, home and second chances.
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I read this one as part of our book club and just couldn’t get into it, it was faaaaar too slow for me... the descriptions started off very beautiful and aided some great scene setting and then it just got very boring, very quickly!

I didn’t like the characters at all and this made it difficult to follow the story, I struggled to stay interested... if it wasn’t a book club book I probably would have DNFd it!
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This book started off really well and I loved the magical descriptions of the flowers and the views of Paris. However, I didn't really enjoy the relationship between Isabelle and Levon as everything seemed to move too quick and when conflict began Levon didn't stand up to it and stay by her side which didn't seem right.
There were also tiny sections at the start of each book about a little girl overlooking Paris by Starlight which were interesting to read but at the end there wasn't anything to connect it to so I didn't understand the point of these sections being included if there wasn't any connection.
I did love the stories from the Nocturne and wish we got more from them.
Overall I really wanted to like this book and it started well but it just didn't click with me.
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This was our Tsundoku Squad Book Group read for February. The book started off quite well, with beautiful descriptions which dragged us into the magic of the story. Paris by Night sounded amazing, and I could really picture the place, full of beauty, and the flowers sounded gorgeous. I honestly fell quite in love with it during the first section. 

The main character is Isabelle. She sets off to Paris in search for her Dad who left when she was young.  She meets a young girl who ends up taking her to her family, which is where Isabelle meets Levon. They fall in love quickly and Isabelle stays with the family. They don’t speak the same language but Isabelle learns to speak like them and learns their ways of life. They come from the old country, where they escaped war. They tell of their stories, their lands, their ways of life including living by night. They follow the stories and beliefs in The Nocturne. It’s all ver beautiful, until the people of Paris start to dislike the people of the night, and it turn very bad with things being damaged intentionally and people being hurt. 

The book started to trail off a bit with too much description, and after a while it took so much away from the story. Isabelle and Levon also quickly got irritating in their relationship for me, and I ended up not being a big fan. There was also too many characters and I started not to remember who was who.

Although this book started off well, I didn’t hate it but was glad I finished but the end. 

I gave this book 3 ½ stars, which I had to round up to 4 on Goodreads, as I felt it didn’t deserve a 3.

Tsundoku Squad gave it a collecive 3 stars
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A book that will convince you that fairytales really do come true. If you have read my bookstagram feed you know I love a good fairy tale and this book has all the right yummy ingredients; magic, enchantment, star-crossed lovers and fantastical settings. 

Paris is already a magical city, but in the hands of Dinsdale it spectacularly comes to life, especially at night when the city above and below become alive with the shimmering splendor of magic.

Like all good fairy tales there is also a strong moral thread running through the story about how the lack acceptance and understanding of different cultures fuels confrontation and only through acceptance of differences can we really prosper as a society.

If you loved The Toymakers from Robert Dinsdale then I’m sure you will love this book as well.
Four of five

Truly enchanting ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Out of five
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Paris by Starlight was going to be the difficult follow up book. Certainly the author gave it his best shot and it was certainly enjoyably. The describing was superb and the atmosphere you could touch it but it did feel a bit lacking in places for me. It felt it a bit disjointed with no momentum. Having said that I did read along for the ride. Imagine flowers blooming at night all over Paris. Bliss.
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Wow. I had hoped I would love this book and probably had my expectations set quite high, but I was still pleasantly surprised. 
As the title suggests, this book mainly takes place in Paris - but not Paris as we know it. Isabelle, at twenty-three, is travelling around the city in search of her father. She last saw him there seventeen years ago, and with no particular leads or hints as to his whereabouts, Isabelle is left roaming from bar to bar in hopes that someone remembers him. Like her, he's a talented harpist. Hence her list of bars and clubs; places he may have played.
In one of these establishments, Isabelle comes across a young girl, clearly starving and not speaking a word of French. Isabelle takes her for a meal and escorts her back home: an apartment full of women and girls, all equally un-fluent in French. This is where she meets Levon, the only French-speaking member of the household and brother to Arina, the young girl.
Over some time, Isabelle becomes trusted by the family, particularly Arina and her grandmother or Bebia, Maia. She begins teaching them French, and helps care for Maia when she falls ill. In turn, Isabelle learns to read Maia's Nocturne, a book full of stories from their 'old country'. Levon also speaks of his home, eventually explaining how they came to be forced from it. 
Maia clings to her Nocturne and the tales it contains. She believes that the People of her homeland should still be living by night as their ancestors did, back when there was magic in the world. She also frequents the night garden growing on the roof, despite her ill health. Nobody is quite sure how she has grown this garden of plants from their old country; Maia is adamant that it sprouted itself, though nobody believes her. Night flowers that glow in the starlight begin to flourish - a piece of magic restored.
Thus, Paris-by-Starlight is established. The second home of the People, populated by enchanting nightjars and flowers of all different colours. On Christmas - or the Night of Seven Stars, as in the Nocturne - a breathtaking spectacle enthrals the entire city. Everyone rejoices in the beauty of Paris-by-Starlight and all the magic it holds.
But, of course, not everyone is happy. People begin to complain about the People; foreigners taking over their city, their home. A resistance is formed - and things go downhill very fast.
Through all this, Isabelle continues her search for her father, and is shocked when she actually finds him. Levon and Arina's father, believed to be dead, suddenly appears. He is angered by the resistance and demands the People fight back. 
I've probably not done the story justice at all. The plot is really quite intricate and difficult to summarise. But believe me when I say it's emotional, magical, and heartbreaking in equal measure. There's romance, there's loss, and there's prejudice. Despite the fantastical nature of Paris-by-Starlight itself, I found this story to be extremely reflective of the world we know. The attitudes of the resistance, so prejudiced and angry, are sadly very real in our society. Dinsdale's narrative of this issue is just fantastic, in my opinion.
I realise this review is getting a bit rambly. Basically, I really loved this book. I absolutely adored the magic of Paris-by-Starlight, and was truly heartbroken by the negativity and prejudice of some of the characters. As for Isabelle and Levon - they had flaws, but I really liked them. Their relationship is far from perfect, and that's exactly why I liked it. Beneath all the magic, I think there's something in this book for everyone to take away.
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A DNF for me, which it pains me to write after I had so much love for The Toymakers,

I loved the gorgeous descriptions of the night but it is slow-moving & I don't feel like picking it up again at all.

So, I'm not going to... life is too short to force yourself to read books you aren't enjoying! I'm sure some people will love it but sadly I'm not one of them.

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone & NetGalley for sending me this title. All opinions are my own.
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I totally understand the excitement around this one, but it felt a little slow at times and I didn’t feel overly connected with the story or characters.
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