Thursday, 10 May 2012
Three very different and very interesting books insightfully reviewed for the Blog by Bridget Carrington
This is an excellent chapter book for primary school readers, to which boys will relate, and we look forward to reading many more of Alfie’s adventures.
The stories tell of the lives, loves and adventures of the kings, heroes, princesses, magical animals and demons.
Laird has retold them perfectly, retaining the poetic lilt within a translation which will engage young readers. Shirin Adl’s illustrations accompany the text perfectly, with full page modern, slightly quirky, representations of typical Persian art, and every page bordered by flowers and creatures which echo the atmosphere and ethos of the stories. This is a beautiful book, in content and in presentation.
Finally Bridget shares her thoughts about a book translated into English by Anthea Bell but originally from the pen and imagination of the hugely talented Kai Meyer, Arcadia Awakens (Templar 2012).
A curiously mixed set of genres are found in Meyer’s YA novel, where Rosa, an American teenager recovering from an abortion resulting from a gang rape, returns to her Mafia family roots in Sicily. Here she reluctantly falls in love with the son of a rival clan, and discovers that, in common with the rest of each family, they can shape-shift into a snake (Rosa) and a tiger (Alessandro), a legacy from their Arcadian ancestry. Thereafter they battle various odds, human and supernatural.
Meyer paints a competent picture of the Sicilian landscape – though that may owe something to my currently watching Montalbano – but the characterisation is less convincing. Myth – the Arcadian element – legend and Bond-style thriller combine in the first novel of a projected trilogy which will undoubtedly captivate a teenage audience which enjoys fast-paced adventure, fantasy, romance and angst.
We hope you will find the time to enjoy one or more of these titles for yourself.