I’ve bought this in Italy because I wanted to check what is going on in the Italian literary scene at the moment, and because the cover was beautiful. It also helped that the book was advertised as “The Italian Harry Potter”! It turned out to be a delightful read, but nothing to do with Harry Potter, except that both are fantasy fiction. This is definitely written for young adults, and surely for adults as well, but not for children. The writing is not as simple as in Harry Potter. It’s almost poetic, dreamy in its descriptions of the Salty Land, of the silky beams of Setalux, of the first meeting between two of the main characters. It really shows that the author, at her debut, made an effort to find her own special style. It could have done with a bit more of proof reading though (so many typing mistakes!). Unfortunately this book only exists in Italian. I’m writing the review hoping that one day it will be translated, and also because it was such an excellent read.
It’s the story of four kids in the mid teens, Sfaira the ballerina, Leon the brave, Matt the knowledgeable and Joshua the artist, in a world that could be our own but it’s not. The four of them are destined to bring back the Setalux, an ancient source of wisdom, made of light and silk, that used to fill the humans' lives and bodies, and bring full consciousness of themselves. “The Setalux was the only way to happiness, knowledge and true joy in life”. The source died mysteriously and now the four teenager are the only hope for the legend to become true again.
This is not a fast-paced, action-packed fantasy. Yes, it has its adventurous and dangerous moments, but the story takes its time to develop the characters’ relationships, their fears and their strengths, the bond that links them, the tensions, the crushes, their everyday lives. Not to mention the important part played by a strange and funny group of concerned adults, that instead of being annoying and stupid as usually in YA fiction, they really bring something to the story.
I particularly loved the way Simona B. Lenic described all the lovely food that the characters have: cherry-foamed cappuccinos, water-melon ice cubes and all sorts of incredibly yummy delicacies are mentioned throughout the book. This, and the fact that all the main characters are really likeable, made me lived their story with pleasure. Needless to say, the story is an allegory of our world, filled with “mortivì” (dead-alive people) who can only think about their own greed and don’t believe in true happiness. So, where is our Setalux source? Let’s hope someone finds it soon!