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The Star of Kazan [Paperback]

Eva Ibbotson , Kevin Hawkes
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 April 2006
In 1896, in a pilgrim church in the Alps, an abandoned baby girl is found by a cook and a housemaid. They take her home, and Annika grows up in the servants' quarters of a house belonging to three eccentric Viennese professors. She is happy there, but dreams of the day when her real mother will come to find her. And sure enough, one day a glamorous stranger arrives at the door. After years of guilt and searching, Annika's mother has come to claim her daughter, who is in fact a Prussian aristocrat whose true home is a great castle. But at crumbling, spooky Spittal Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her new-found family . . .
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142405825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142405826
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,413,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eva Ibbotson is one of the best-loved children's writers in the world.

Her first children's novel was published in 1975, and her most famous story, JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA, won the Smarties Gold Prize in 2001.

Her books have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and many other literary awards.

Eva died at the age of 85 in 2010

Product Description


...Involve[s] difficulties surmounted, and do[es] not patronize but won't give a child nightmares. -- The Times, 10 November 2004

A magnificent piece of storytelling, which positively luxuriates in the extraordinary twists and turns of the plot. -- Books for Keeps, November 2004 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Annika never has a birthday – no one knows the date she was born. She celebrates her Found Day instead. For Annika was abandoned as a baby and found by a cook and a housemaid from Vienna. Her upbringing in the servants’ quarters of the house of three eccentric professors means that at an early age she can bake and ice a three-tier cake, and polish parquet floors to perfection. One summer's evening a very old lady comes to stay with Annika's awful neighbours. The stories of her extraordinary life as a famous dancer are spellbinding. Especially the tale of the besotted Russian count who gave her the legendary emerald, the Star of Kazan. Then suddenly a glamorous stranger arrives at Annika’s door. Her mother, after years of guilt and searching, has come to claim her. Annika is no servant but a Prussian aristocrat whose true home is a great castle. But at crumbling, spooky Spittal she discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her new-found family . . . Eva Ibbotson’s hugely entertaining story is a timeless classic for listeners young and old. Fans of JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA are in for an even more captivating treat in the eagerly-awaited THE STAR OF KAZAN. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Ellie had gone into the church because of her feet. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Good Old Fashioned Fun 8 Nov 2004
Like Cornelia Funke in Inkheart and the Thief Lord, Eva Ibbotson creates a fantastical take on the world where there are foundlings and great big baddies. Bravely she sets the book in the starchy world of early 20th Century Vienna, but she pulls it off with aplomb.
Putting aside the ripping-yarn elements of the story (which are wonderful) this is also a very useful book for parents of adopted children as the heroine is a foundling who ends up realising that her 'made' family is far better than the fantasy of reclamation by her birth-mother.
Like Cornelia Funke, Ibbotson is very good at painting adults who, beneath scratchy exteriors are truly good - the three professors all show great mettle underneath their ponderous, aged facades. I also like this element having read an interview with Ibbotson in The Guardian which showed her to be a rather grumpy old woman herself!
I really enjoyed the Star of Kazan and will now go and find Journey to the River Sea.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the Year 15 Nov 2004
Eva Ibbotson is a great writer, not 'just' a great children's writer. Every night I read another chapter to my ten year old daughter and looked forward to it at least as much as she did. As in 'The Journey to the River Sea', Eva Ibbotson creates a vivid and fully realised world, populates it with characters which have just enough of the grotesque mixed in with their humanity to make them memorable, then ties the whole thing together with a pageturner of a story that for all its twists and turns is never contrived. Really magical, and my book of the year.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! 1 Oct 2004
THE STAR OF KAZAN is a fantastic book. I don't know what 'im-here-to-help' is talking about. The characters are wonderful and the plot is intricate and thrilling.
Eva Ibbotson is a skilled and accomplished writer who is fantastic at creating characters who you fall in love with. THE STAR OF KAZAN is every bit as heartwarming and absorbing as JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA and everyone should read it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply a wonderful book 25 May 2009
By luckyd
I bought this book for my 9 year old daughter about a year ago, to read as a good night story. Both of us enjoyed it thoroughly. The language of the book evokes great imagery so easily and it was so easy to get completely lost in Annika's world. Beautiful! The journey to the river sea was a fantastic book, but in my opinion the Star of kazan is even better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars P7 Book Study 28 May 2010
I read this book with a group of P7 pupils and found it gripping for me as well as for them. It is extrmemely well written and an excellent model to use with children. This is what they had to say:

"It was on of those books that you couldn't put down. You had to keep reading it."
"We wanted to keep reading more because it was so detailed and full of twists and turns."
"I liked that the characters all got what was coming to them."
"The characters were realistic and detailed."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for girls 28 Oct 2007
This is a wonderful book for anyone - a gripping story with wonderful characters, both child and adult. My 11-year-old son and I both enjoyed it from page 1 to the end.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing...... 2 Feb 2008
By Laura
This is probably the best book I have ever read. I read Journey to the River Sea and loved it and then this one was recommended to me and I thought it was amazing. The book is all about this girl called Annika who lives in Vienna with her foster mum Ellie, Ellie's best friend Sigrid and three professors. However as a baby Annika was left in a church and Ellie took her in. One day Annika's mother comes to fetch her and Annika is swept on an adventure of discovery and unexpected danger. I would recommend this book to anyone aged 10-12 particularly as I think this is the age the book is really good for. However older or younger readers may also enjoy this story. It suits pretty much everyone from the ages of 10-12. It has an historical part to it, good characters, adventure and the growing up of a teenage girl. This book was a real page turner and really addicting, do read it and Journey to the River Sea as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ibbotson in her prime 30 July 2009
"The Star of Kazan" is a book that contains many themes close to Ibbotson's heart, the main one being Austria, and as you read it is all the more enjoyable as her enthusiasm is filtered into the novel.

It concerns Annika, a young orphan raised in an eccentric house of sibling Professors, with her parental figures being the cook, Ellie, and the housemaid, Sigrid.

When a baby, they discovered her in a church and have looked after her since then. Although she loves her adopted family, she cannot help dreaming of a glamourous and mysterious mother.

When a glamourous and mysterious mother does appear, Annika, although regretful at leaving behind the people she has grown to love, is thrilled at the prospect of her new life.

Containing a sub-plot which is the premise for the real "Star of Kazan", the book is beautifully written with Eva Ibbotson's classic style and passion. It takes a rather clichéd idea and gives it new depths (the idea itself contains the central focus of the plot so I shan't reveal it here) and although slightly predictable at times and aimed at a younger audience than perhaps "Journey to the River Sea" and her other books such as "Magic Flutes", "Song for Summer" ect. is a lovely book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! :)
I really like this book, we are doing it in my English lessons so I decided to get it on my iPad. I read it all!!!! It's really good :)
Published 2 months ago by No-one
5.0 out of 5 stars the star of Kazan
Loved it! I would recommend it to anyone really. It was very good. I found the beginning quitter boring though.
Published 2 months ago by you
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripped.
Eva Ibbotson is good at making things happen to her characters that the reader would prefer didn't happen! Read more
Published 3 months ago by skecksi
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Girls think it is not quite as good as some of her other work but is still a high standard.
Published 4 months ago by K. J. Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars Ok or should I say the best!!!
I chose a five stars because we'll, it's by Eva Ibbottson! I would recommend this book to ages 6-11. read it!!!!!!!! :)
Published 5 months ago by cool
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is a fabulous book for 10 year olds. My daughter loves it and recommends it to all her friends.
Published 6 months ago by CE
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
Book you can't get enough of. A thrilling mixture of mystery and fairy tale .this is one of those ones you can't get enough of !¿¿¿¿?????? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Nicky
5.0 out of 5 stars Eva Ibbotson's whisk away journey with Annika.
I gave this book a 5 star rating because , as it says in the title, it whisked me away on a magical journey to be sucked into the story. Read more
Published 9 months ago by by Aisha Warmington.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Star of Kazan
This book is much better than the Dragon fly pool (Eva Ibbotson) but not as good as Journy to the River Sea.
I would most definitely recommend it to children 9-11.
Published 10 months ago by Christopher P Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars review
I like this book because it was my very first e book and it was so good I bought more
Published 10 months ago by Katie Fear
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