Ayna could predict the future.
Cari could find what was lost.
Gair thought he was ordinary.
The three children of Gest, the chief of Garholt, know the perils of the Moor on which they live. The Dorig, their people’s enemies, are cold-blooded, fierce underwater creatures who terrify anyone unlucky enough to happen upon them. The Giants are dangerous and violent.
But it’s not until their home is invaded that Gair learns of a dying curse that endangers all three peoples of the Moor. A curse that ordinary Gair, with the help of his extraordinary brother and sister, may be able to break, but only at the most dreadful risk to all three, and to the Moor itself. (from Amazon)
In one sentence: A little bit darker than her other books, and every bit as satisfying.
You may be surprised by this, but I wasn’t expecting to love this book. I generally like every DWJ book I read, but I don’t necessarily love them, and this one had both a bad cover and a crappy title going for it– and you know how much importance I place on covers (though mine doesn’t have the kids on it, actually)– so I assumed it was one of her not-as-good books. But! Don’t let the cover deceive you like it deceived me: this book is totally awesome.
As always with a five star-rated book, it’s hard to pick out specific things I loved without dissolving into an incoherent mess. But I’ll give it my best shot:
The characters. Pure DWJ, they are, and every bit as wonderful and real (yet magical) and adorable (or scary, depending) as you’d ever want in a character. They actually remind me a lot of the two main characters in Heroes of the Valley, so if you like that book you’ll like this one, too.
The adventure. It’s rather short-lived, actually, but there’s a big twist near the last half that makes everything more intense and fantastic. And the end! I can’t even talk about the end without spoiling things, but it’s very, very good.
It takes place in an England-ish area but it feels very Saxon-y, and the overall tone of the book is very traditional German-type fairy tale– Grimm-ish, but better. It does start off a little strangely, with a character who seems primary but becomes secondary, and a rather unnecessary death of a minor character (I hate it when she does that). But don’t let that deter you! If you like myths and fairy tales, if you like hero tales with a bit of Anglo-Saxon in them, if you like DWJ at all, read this book! It’s lovely and it’s got funny bits in it (and some drama/tragedy) and adventure and action and broody heroes and heroine who don’t deal with nonsense and it’s WONDERFUL.
I suppose now my position as “Diana Wynne Jones Fangirl” has been firmly cemented. HA. (As if it wasn’t before, honestly.)
Read: September 2009