Review: The Apprentice's Masterpiece, by Melanie Little

"But there are times
When peace just becomes
A broken mouthful.
A word that no tongue in the world
Can pronounce"
-From The Apprentice's Masterpiece

Ramon and his Papa are scribes, struggling to make a living throughout the Spanish Inquisition, a massacre brought on by a radical Christian, Queen Isabella. But when Papa is given a slave, Amir, secrets and jealousy threaten to burn their way through the family. Eventually Amir and Ramon take to different paths—paths more complicated and harsh than they could imagine. And while Amir fights to survive, Ramon is torn between conscience and duty.

The Apprentice’s Masterpiece was my first foray into the world of novels written in verse. To be honest, I was very skeptical of a book written like poetry, but after just the first page of Masterpiece, any skepticism flew out the window. It is hard to describe, but novels in verse have an innate ability, I believe, to delve deeper into characters than any other novel. It brings a certain amount of passion and reality that would seem awkward in normally written novels. Now, this may just be a result of Little’s writing, but from what I’ve heard of another book like this, i.e. Far From You, the flow an ease of every story in verse is almost inescapable. You can easily read it fast just for the story, or you can read it slowly, admire the poetic style, and get even more from the story.

 Now, I was interested about the Spanish Inquisition, which drew me to the book in the first place (well, that, and the brilliant cover). It surpassed all my expectations, and I feel like I’ve glimpsed a bit of life in that era. Melanie Little also gives a quick summary of the Spanish Inquisition at the beginning (which you don’t have to read, but its very helpful and makes the story more realistic) if you’re interested in that time period.

 I couldn’t really summarize the plot very well, as the story more internal than physical, but let me tell you: you’ll still be hooked. No action needed, though there is still some excitement. Masterpiece is also quirky in places; the sarcasm of Amir and Ramon will make you laugh :)

Rating: 5 Stars

Clean?: One or two swear words, otherwise clean.


  1. What a glorious cover and intriguing premise for a book. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. no problem :) It's really a brilliant read!

  3. I love verse novels, but I haven't read this one. I will definitely add it to my list. Thanks for your review!

    (Other amazing verse novels: Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover, Loose Threads by Lorie Ann Grover, Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham...and MORE. Did I mention I love verse novels?)

  4. Hmm, I'll definitely have to check that out sometime! Other than Edgar Allen Poe and a few children's poems (e.g. The Cremation of Sam McGee) I haven't read much in verse either. And if it got 5 stars...


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