Customer Reviews for

Toads and Diamonds

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Even better than the original!

    Vastly different from Charles Perrault's The Fairies, in my opinion, Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson is a much-better version of the tale. For those not familiar with the original, two step-sisters encounter a disguised fairy on separate occasions. The younger of the two is blessed with a gift: Whenever she speaks, flowers and jewels fall from her lips. The eldest isn't a kind person, so the fairy curses her to spit out snakes and amphibians when she speaks. In traditional fairy tale fashion, the good-hearted, but downtrodden maiden overcomes all while those that put her down get their just rewards. Tomlinson took a fresh look at the original tale and thought, "What if the fairy blessed both sisters?" Both sisters are kind, good-hearted people who honestly love one another despite the fact that they don't share blood. Some parts of the tale remain consistent: Diribani is blessed with the gift of jewels and flowers, while her stepsister Tana is given the ability to speak snakes and toads. But which is a blessing and which a curse?

    Tomlinson sets Toads and Diamonds in India, where snakes are revered. Tana has also received a gift, not a curse, though there are those who flee from what her lips release upon speaking. Many families own house nagas, snakes that eat the rats and keep pestilence from spreading. While outwardly, Diribani has received a priceless gift and releases a small fortune whenever she has something to say, it's actually a curse in disguise. She's locked up and kept away from everyone; her jewels line the king's coffers and a greedy governor wants her for himself. Toads and Diamonds is told in alternating POVs, so readers are able to follow both Diribani and Tana, seeing what becomes of the sisters and their "gifts."

    Overall, Tana was my favorite of the sisters. She's made of strong mettle and goes through so much agony, while Diribani has a much easier life. Diribani's story flatlined a bit, and at times, I was eager to get back to Tana's plight. There was so much heartbreak and misery in her life; Tana was braver than most girls in her situation. As with any other fairy tale, there are also romantic prospects involved, though a relationship is hard for either sister due to their unique gifts. The throne doesn't want to let go of Diribani's riches while Tana feels that no one could love a girl who spits venomous snakes. The setting also played an important factor in the book and was a character in and of itself. I loved that Tomlinson modeled her land on a real country, India, and invented two powerful religions that are similar to ones we have in reality, while still being quite unique. Everything fit together well and created a lovely atmosphere not often seen in literature. Combined with an unusual outlook on what constitutes a blessing or a curse, Toads and Diamonds leaves readers with a lot to think about and reflect on.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo

    Diribani and Tana both meet a goddess while fetching water from the town. She grants each sister a gift. When Diribani speaks, jewels and flowers fall from her mouth. When Tana speaks, toads and snakes fall from hers. When their secret is discovered, it changes the sisters' lives. Diribani finds herself traveling with the Prince and his family. Each jewel is recorded and taken to send back to her village. She learns a new set of customs but struggles to keep part of herself intact. Tana's gift brings fear. She, too, leaves her home and travels to a monastery. Before long, she sets off on a pilgrimage to learn the true meaning of her gift. Her travels bring her grief, and destruction follows in her path. Are their gifts a blessing or a curse? A wonderful fairy tale consisting of two sisters, with alternating chapters of each one's story. As each sister struggles to understand her gift, they encounter danger, friendship, romance, hardships, joy, tests of their strength, and a strong desire to see her sister.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    A must read!!!hey my last name is tomlinson tooo!!!we could be cousins

    This book is one of my favs

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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I was hooked from the first paragraph. I love the author's writ

    I was hooked from the first paragraph. I love the author's writing style. She is expressive and descriptive.
    I like to read reimaginings of fairy tales, but this was a new one for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and following on thier paths of self discovery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2011

    Fantastic- A Must Read

    Toads and Diamonds, a story based on a fairy tale and set in a fantastical Mughal empire, is a must-read. Beautifully written, with compelling characters and unexpected insight, this is definitely a book I want added to my collection!

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    kinky but cute

    my oh my this book is great yall

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 3, 2013

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    Posted March 19, 2011

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    Posted March 25, 2011

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