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on 14 October 2014
It is really refreshing to read a YA book that exists outside the usually vampires, werewolves and witches. This book gives a completely different lore and a unique perspective for readers to get into. I found the protagonist, Emma a little wet in places, but she is a teen and sometimes you do get a little unsettled and make wrong judgements when you’re at that age (I know I did!)

From a writer’s perspective, I think this reads more like a lower aged YA book. The content was easy to follow and the prose was very basic (I don’t mean that in a bad way, it was just very easy to read) I actually read this book when I was curled in bed with flu, so I really appreciated something easy to follow that quickly took me on an adventure without much work from myself. Also with the age of Emma being 16, I think it’ll appeal more to 11 + readers, as we all know that most YA readers like to read about characters above their own age. That said, it’s still quite accessible to adult readers too.

The front cover is pretty, but kid of cartoon-like and probably won’t compete will with other more dynamic covers. If I were the author I’d be changing that as soon as I could – YA fiction is such a competitive genre, you need every weapon in your arsenal to compete, and a front cover that appeals to everyone is top of that list – perhaps something more like The Mortal Instrument Books?

Overall I’d give The Luthier’s Apprentice 3 out of 5 stars for an adult read and 5 out of 5 stars for a YA read. I’ll be buying it for my nieces for Xmas.
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This book was a lovely surprise for me, knowing absolutely nothing about classical music and violins, I found this book to be beautifully described as well as a joy to read. In fact so vivid is the descriptions I found myself dreaming about the characters last night!

The Luthier's Apprentice follows 16 year old Emma who lives in Brussels with her mother, following the disappearance of her violin tutor she finds herself in the middle of a mystery.

She finds out that her tutor is one of several violinist that have just vanished, sensing something off about it she sets of to get to the bottom of it, but before she can do anything she has to move in with her grandfather whilst her mother visits her aunt, a woman who Emma has never met.

Her grandfather is the Luthier in the title, A Luthier is the craftsman who makes violins. Emma has been learning from him the art of making violins but her grandad is hiding something and the constant strange noises in the locked attic have her a little curious.

After her grandfather disappears Emma starts to look for him starting with the locked attic, helping her are her best friend Annika and also a young man named Corey who becomes the Sherlock to Emma's holmes.

What happens next is a fantastical tale as they discover a portal that takes them to a strange parallel world, here they find the answers to the mystery but they also discover that some legends are still alive and kicking.

This is a lovely straightforward mystery with a touch of the paranormal and a tiny smidgen of romance too, it's also quite educational (at least for me!!) I learned a lot about the world of violins!, and the way Mayra has described gives it such a beautiful dreamlike quality.

The Luthier's Apprentice gets 4 out of 5
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 September 2014
This off-beat paranormal fantasy for young adults will appeal to anyone who is musically minded.

A girl named Emma Braun, living in Brussels as a diplomat's kid, learns that her violin teacher has gone missing, which precipitates an adventure. Emma's reclusive grandfather, who makes violins and is teaching her this craft of lutherie, says that over the centuries violinists have gone missing at times, but nobody has noticed until the well-connected present day. Indeed, a few men have recently vanished according to the papers. Emma suspects that some paranormal influence was involved - but why?

Teaming up with her best friend Annika and student Corey Fletcher, Emma investigates the disappearance and discovers how dangerous it is to be a violinist on Hallowe'en.

I found the ending scary for a young reader, somewhat creepy and definitely inventive. There are plenty of informative details about music and anyone could read the tale just for the adventure. YA books showing music as a skill are definitely lacking so well done to the author and I will be interested to read more of this series.
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on 26 May 2014
This was a lively, fast-paced book, and very imaginative. I usually tend to read more gritty, down-to-earth fantasy, but this was much more fantastical fantasy, so it was nice to read something a bit different. I really like the use of violins and violin making in the plot, and I love Faustian bargains.

The characters were very likeable, and especially Corey, who is always quoting lines from Sherlock Holmes. They were perhaps a little flat in places, especially the "villain", but the story galloped along at a great pace, and it definitely kept me reading. I didn't really like or approve of the villain's motives for doing what they did; in my opinion, it kind of enhances a harmful stereotype, but I really liked parts of the other world that they had created, very creepy and unique.

Overall, it was a quick, fun read which I enjoyed. It also made me wish that I played the violin myself, but I can barely sing in tune on a good day, so I think I'll just stick to reading about violins, rather than inflicting my efforts on everybody else!
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on 17 May 2014
Sixteen year old Emma is a talented violinist, living in Brussels with her mother. When her violin tutor disappears she also discovers several violinists have vanished. She is pulled into the mystery and explores the possibilities with her best friend, Annika and her rival, Corey. Emma and Corey soon find they both love Sherlock Holmes and the game is most definitely afoot.

This immerses us into a world of beautiful instruments, beautiful music and dedicated musicians. It takes a surprising turn for the fantastical to a world filled with violins and violence where old legends remain alive and mysteries revealed.

What we are left with is what is essentially an enjoyable mystery. The paranormal fantasy and touch of romance add new dimensions to the puzzle. The beauty of the classical backdrop to the story serve to make this a unique and thoroughly enjoyable dream. I highly recommend this delightful book.
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on 24 October 2014
I received an A.R.C. of this but that does not colour my review in any way.

Emma is sixteen and studying hard to be a violinist. She is also learning how to make them from her grandfather, a master luthier. Something strange is happening. Several world class violinists have gone missing. The latest is Emma's tutor.
Cory is also a student of the same tutor. When Emma decides to investigate she bumps into Cory. He is a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and they team up to investigate together.

This is a lovely mystery and spooky adventure story for Y.A. or teens. There is magic and a little innocent romance. Good strong characters that make this a very enjoyable read. I will recommend this to my young friends.
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