wJan 21, 2008

The Kestrel

This book is the second in Lloyd Alexander's Westmark trilogy (I talked about the first, Westmark, here).

I don't really want to take the time to discuss spoilers, so I'll try not to be too detailed. It took me a little while to get into the plot of this novel, but by the time I got to the middle, I found it very difficult to put this book down. The old themes from the first novel are still present, although politics and war are even more prominent in this book.

Unlike many fantasy authors (especially YA), Lloyd Alexander does not glorify violence. The hero is not fearlessly killing people with a magic sword for the sake of all that is glorious and true. The violence is not glossed over as a necessity to making a great story. The violence is shocking, gruesome, and affects every character in a profound and different way. The hero, Theo, especially struggles with witnessing and committing acts of violence, and by the end of the book, many characters are so mentally broken by the war that I'm not sure they will ever recover.

I like that in addition to violence never being an easy concept to cope with, political questions are not easily solved either. The "good guys" (grey) are fighting the "bad guys," but should they continue all the way, and abolish the monarchy they live under? It's an interesting question for the reader, considering the fact that the queen is a sympathetic main character.

Also! Florian is totally Enjolras, from Les Miserables.

While the first novel wasn't bad, I wasn't thrilled with it, either. The Kestrel, however makes me eager to read the last volume of the trilogy, The Beggar Queen. This is unfortunate, because I probably won't have time to do so until I am finished with school.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 4:26 PM

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