Written by Nicholas Christopher, "The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen" is an enjoyable read. It is set in the streets of Venice and focuses on a young boy named Nicolo. It shows his adventures and misadventures as he learns to live with the loss of his whole family and to survive in an unforgiving world.
At just age fourteen, Nicolo is orphaned and forced out of his home. The only thing he has left in the world is a clarinet his father gave given him. However, the clarinet is special because a famous magician placed a spell on it. This spell allows Nicolo to play the best and most challenging music of the day perfectly.
Using this clarinet he gains fame and fortune throughout Europe. However, he first has to disguise himself as a girl and gain entrance into an all girls orphanage to survive his first nights on his own. There he meets a beautiful girl named Adriana who faces many challenges just as he did. Will Nicolo be able to save both Adriana and himself or will they be swept away on the wings of fortune and misfortune?
I thought this was a great book especially because Nicolo is a character readers can relate to. However, I did have a little trouble getting into the book at the beginning, which is funny because my dad read it before me and absolutely loved it. He is even thinking about making it a summer book for his English students since he is a teacher at St. Francis Borgia High School.
Once I finished the book I realized it really great. Full of magic and mayhem, it catches the reader’s attention. Also, the clarinet and musical aspects provided a great plot twist that carried the story and made it more interesting. Even though it had a rough start in my opinion, I still enjoyed the read.