Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Back from Break! Review: A Plague of Unicorns, by Jane Yolen

I wish I could say I have spent the last few weeks reading, but that was not even remotely the case. While our holidays were enjoyable, they were also very busy! In addition to now having a close-to-Christmas birthday to celebrate, and Christmas (at the library, at home, at the fire department, etc., etc.) itself to celebrate, SOMEbody decided to throw in a wedding...

...which also took up just a little bit of time and energy. I did get a few minutes here and there to read, though, and finally have a few reviews to share with you:

A Plague of Unicorns

"Young James, the duke's son, asks too many questions. At least that's what everyone at Callender Castle thinks after all but the last of his tutors quits and his uncle ships him off to be educated at Cranford Abbey. 

Unfortunately, the once-beautiful abbey has problems of its own, including cracked walls, a leaking roof, and shattered stained-glass windows. Not to mention the pesky herd of unicorns that continues to enter the abbey's orchards and claim them as their own."

Okay, Jane Yolen is pretty much an automatic "Yes, please!" for any fantasy lover. This one is a quick and enjoyable read. Quick, that is, unless you are trying to read it while surrounded by children with more questions than James! The irony of being interrupted continually was not lost on me, and certainly caused me to identify quite well with the adults in the book.

Young James, while he doesn't actually appear until page 47, is of course the main character of the story, and is just as easy to relate to. From the time he is introduced, we view happenings from his precocious yet innocent just-turned-nine viewpoint, which is certainly not the same viewpoint of anyone else in the book, but which just may be the one that is needed.

Wow, was that a convoluted sentence - fortunately, Yolen is much better than I at the craft of writing, and readers of any age will enjoy the flow of words and the mental imagery they produce. Because of the age of the main character and the fact that it is such a quick read, I am putting it in with our middle grade fantasy. I may hand it off to readers who want to read a "big kid book" but who would lose steam on something like Enna Burning. I will also be showing it to certain adults who enjoy a book they can savor, and who appreciate a good wordsmith (yes, D. and K., I'm thinking of you). A good, solid purchase for any library!

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