Who are the Medici brothers? And who is trying to assassinate them? Why was the Pitti Palace never completed? And what part did Leonardo play in all of this? Leonardo da Vinci is remembered as an artist and inventor. But who was he before anyone knew his name? This family-friendly novel explores the history and the legends of his early years in Florence. It also weaves a mystery of politics and power. This novel is the first in the series of historically based novels - The Life and Travels of Da Vinci (followed by Leonardo: Masterpieces in Milan and Leonardo: To Mantua and Beyond).
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This story felt more like a biography than a fiction. The voice felt distant, as if we were just reading about Leonardo. There were hardly any feelings involved and I just didn’t connect with the characters on any level. Compared to other historical fiction I’ve read, this just felt like a slightly altered biography. Not sure whether this is a fiction or historical nonfiction.
Learned more than from my old arts teacher!
It was a really interesting experience, this book, and very different from my usual reads. I think one of the best things is that I was able to recognize names but then finally feel like I'd be able to remember them, should the subject arise in the future.
I liked the flow of the story and how I could follow Leonardo through his initial years. Catherine Jaime's story feels very educational, and David Winograd, the narrator, has a very clear voice which I felt was appropriate. I will certainly continue the series, because I think Leonardo da Vinci is a very interesting artist about whom the general public (myself included) knows very little.
While I won't ask my tutees to read this book - whatever you try to make kids and teens do backfires, after all - I will tell them about it and recommend it, and hopefully they'll notice how excited I am about this series and then see what the fuss is all about.
The reason I don't give this book 5 stars is because I liked it, but didn't fall in love with it. I think more details about paints, materials and utensils would have made it for me... but then again, perhaps younger readers would find those details to be too boring.