**Toads and Diamonds-- Heather Tomlinson

Release Date: March 30th, 2010
Genre:  Fairy Tale
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 288
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.

It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.

Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?
Review: I love that I am reviewing this book exactly one year after it was released. I've been pining after this book for so long, and was SOOOO happy when I finally got the chance to purchase it.

If it isn't already obvious, I LURV what I call TFT (twisted fairy-tales). There's just something so magical about them. Heather Tomlinson's first book, The Swan Maiden, was one of the first books I ever got from the publisher and I LOVED it, too (though I've gotten much better at reviewing).

What made this book so awesome was how fairy-tale-ish it was. You know fairy tales--they often are comprised of a series of events and obstacles that the MC must overcome. Detail is often sacrificed for plot, or vice versa (depending on the teller). There's usually some romance. And (most recognizably) things either end up happily ever after (usually very suddenly especially using deus ex machina), or everyone dies.

Sound about right?

I pretty much just outlined this book. The sisters are given a challenge and they have to deal with it, going through some crazy stuff along the way. Is the plot super-duper deep? Nah. It's a pretty light story, just like a fairy tale. It isn't like The Goose Girl, which goes into such detail you just feel immersed. Tomlinson creates her own world in which I felt like an observer, not a member. But that was okay with me.

Then there's the romance. It wasn't really flushed out. It just seemed like people fell in love pretty easily. But did that make it fake? No! It was cute and sigh-worthy.

And in the ending everything wraps up nicely. Not all of the questions are answered, but there aren't any gaping holes in the story. I would have liked more (no, I would have loved more) but I was content.

But Tomlinson definitely brought some originality to the tale. I loved the India setting, and the different religious aspects brought in (the religious people AREN'T crazy!). Wonderful twist to this tale.

If you like fairy-tales, you will like this book. It's light, easy, lovable, and wonderfully written.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.


  1. Yay, I'm so glad you loved it! Makes me want to get cracking on my copy...

  2. Oh, I've been wanting to read this one, and now I want to read it even more. Did you ever read Gail Carson Levine's version of this fairy tale?

  3. Ooh. I feel like I have... but I can't remember. What's it called?

  4. I love a good twisted fairy tale too. And I hope to keep seeing more of them. I'm grateful for authors Heather Tomlinson, Shannon Hale, and Jessica Day George.

  5. Levine's version was "The Fairy's Mistake" which was part of her short story collections of retold fairy tales.

    Also, did I ever tell you that this is my favorite fairy tale? Because it so is. I can even tell it in sign language.

  6. I adored this book when I read it over Christmas, especially the religious aspect! I thought she presented her world and the culture so beautifully. Plus, it made me want to write when I finished it, which is always a good sign for a book in my opinion. My only problem was that it ended too soon!

  7. As much as I love your reviews of up and coming books and being in the know, sometimes I can hardly wait for them to be released--I was happily surprised to see a new Squeaky Book that's been out for a year. I have a hold on this one so it'll be soon. The Indian culture/religion should be a fresh change.

    Sometimes I wonder how to find more of the obscure twisted fairy tales instead of the traditional Grimm/Disney versions...any ideas?


Thank you so much for commenting! I read each and every one.

Please be aware that any comments under an "anonymous" user are subject to deletion, as well as cruel or unnecessarily rude comments (because sometimes it's necessary to be rude.*wink*). Comments on posts older than 2 weeks are also moderated, and may take a few days to appear.

Related Posts with Thumbnails