|My entries in the NECBA Fall Review Project.
||[Sep. 24th, 2005|01:53 pm]
Bookseller By Night
UNDER A STAND STILL MOON|
Ann Howard Creel
Brown Barn Books
Ages 10 and up
Notable aspects: strong unconventional heroine, interesting setting, imagery, language
UNDER A STAND STILL MOON could easily be this generation's ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS. It was a real page-turner for me, at 192 pages; I was sorry it was over so soon. It is intriguing historical fiction, set in the Southwestern United States around 900AD.
Echo is a spirited girl of the Anasazi, born under the Stand Still Moon, which comes once every eighteen years. She is not content to be merely a traditional wife and mother until she falls in love with her oldest friend. But fate intervenes in the form of Echo's timely rescue of a child, which brings her to the attention of her tribe's High Priests. She suddenly finds it her duty to forsake her one love and marry a much older man, the Sun Watcher, who proves to be kind and gives her the greatest gift of all.... his sacred knowledge of the sky and the seasons.
This knowledge, normally forbidden to women, becomes crucial when drought strikes the land and the People lose faith. But the author does not take the easy way out to have Echo save the day. She must watch as friends die and kin leave the settlements they have farmed for generations, in search of more fertile ground. But she is determined to continue watching the sky, charting the Earth's cycles, and waiting out the bad times, in the hopes of the beneficence of another Stand Still Moon.
* * * * *
Scholastic/The Chicken House
For mature middle readers, young adults, bibliophiles, fans of fantasy and the Middle Ages
Notable aspects: lyrical language, rich and detailed settings, intricate plot twists, acknowledgement of consequences, mature themes
INKSPELL, the sequel to INKHEART, is dark. Unbelievably and unrelievably dark. It's a very mature book that pulls no punches in the telling of a much more involved tale than its predecessor.
Many new characters are introduced to round out the cast that we've already gotten to know. Meggie is a year older, somewhat wiser, but still the intrepid and curious young girl, who makes a young girl's mistakes. We get better acquainted with Farid, Resa, and Fenoglio, the latter of which still seems determined to control the story that he created but which has taken on a life of its own.
The darkness in this book is offset by its richness of detail. Although it is just as long as INKHEART, perhaps even longer, it moves at a much swifter pace and sweeps the reader away even more strongly.
I anxiously await the resolution of the ending set up in the final pages of INKSPELL.