Saturday, September 03, 2005

Diana Wynne Jones

I made my usual raid on the library today - and of course, having taken back one pile of books, I went and borrowed another 4 to add to the ever-changing Tower of books... I just can't seem to break myself of the habit (not that I really want to, of course). Anyway I came back with a couple of Diana Wynne Jones books to go with the still-to-be-re-read Fire and Hemlock (which I'm going to read that one just as soon as I've finished Inkheart). Anyway the first DWJ I picked up was The Tough Guide to Fantasyland which is a dictionary of every fantasy novel cliche ever created. I've read and heard a lot about this book, so I thought I'd see what everyone has been talking about. I also picked up DWJ's Power of Three, which looked interesting. Here's the synopsis:

Gair spent his time gazing out onto the Moor and brooding. Ayna could answer questions about the future, Ceri could find things which were lost. Gair seems to have no Gift and knew he was a disappointment to his jovial, heroic father - who is Chief. Perhaps his feelings of not fitting in was what made him so curious about these other different sorts of beings who lived on the Moor - the Giants and the Dorig. Certainly it was because he believed he was ordinary that he did his best to become wise, and to learn as much as he could abou the three great Powers of Sun, Moon and Earth. And when the crisis came, Gair found the knowledge he had gained was to help save not only his own life but those of all his people.

Of course, I'll be Blogging both books (along with Fire and Hemlock) once I've read them. Whilst I was in the children's section of the library, I also picked up Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls, about which I've read a lot on the Child_Lit discussion list. Since I've been reading about trolls anyway lately, I thought it might be an interesting read. Here's the synopsis:

Jack is an apprentice bard and just beginning to learn the secrets of his mysterious master, when he and his little sister are captured by Viking chief, Olaf One-Brow, and taken to the court of Ivar the Boneless. Ivar is married to a half-troll named Frith, an evil and unpredictable queen with a strange power over her husband's court. Jack is sent on to the kingdom of the trolls, where he has to find the magical well and undo the charm he has cast on Frith. He is accompanied by Thorgill, a shield maiden, aged 12, who wants to be a berserker when she grows up. Together, they are set for a magical and exciting adventure.

It seems appropriate to be reading books with Norse settings, since the literature of Scandinavia had such a huge influence on Tolkien, whose work has in turn influenced fantasy in Europe and the Americas.

The final book I picked up today is the first in what appears to be a trilogy (but may be a longer sequence of books - I only found three in total when I looked at Amazon). Anyway, the first book is Katherine Roberts' Song Quest and this is the synopsis:

From the Isle of Echoes the forces of good and evil are held in harmony by those who hear and sing. When a mainlander's ship is wreaked and the Merlee half creatures are heard crying across the waves the lives of three novice Singers are changed forever. Rialle, the heroine, who hears the cry of the Merlee, is sent to calm them with Challa, her voice as sweet as sunlight. Frenn, her friend and protector, follows as a stowaway while Kherron, the rebel, allows his desire for freedom to take him into danger and a headlong clash with the enemy and their mysterious powers. All are caught up in a dangerous and sinister web, battling against the powers of darkness that threaten to destroy their world.

The sequels are The Crystal Mask and Dark Quetzal. I shall have to check the Oxfordshire Library OPAC and see whether the other two are in the system, assuming I like the first one enough to read the other two.

So my Tower of Books is again 10 books high, and I've still got the Mercedes Lackey trilogy to read. At least no one will ever hear me complain that I've got nothing to read !

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