oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen


Yesterday's YA read was Ingledove by Marly Youmans, which got a really excellent blurb from Diana Wynne Jones. On the whole, I agree with Diana that this is one damned cool book. It has the special fairytale feel that many books attempt and most fail at, not only in the events but in the prose itself. The characters, even the children, speak in a strangely poetic, formal way that doesn't seem out of place as it might in a more straightforward novel.

The world is deliciously strange: Adantis (the similarity to "Atlantis" must be deliberate) seems to be a world lost in the American Appalachians sometime after WWII and the deliberate flooding induced by the Tennessee Valley Authority's dam. They speak and live a strange mixture of cultures: Irish, Scots, and Cherokee, and antique English among them. Magic involves salves and poultices and sharpened sticks to fend off evil, witchmasters and potent poems, but there's also the crystal third eye (?) of a giant snake that can show the future.

A couple of times, Adantean characters explain things to the semi-outsider protagonist, Ingledove, and those bits of infodump threw me out of the story; my adult/writer eyes, I guess. Am not sure if every younger reader would've been bothered.

I think the pov is omniscient--it has to be, because the voice that describes the things they see is not Ingledove's. That said, several times Ingledove is referred to as "the girl" and a few times her brother is "the boy." This was minorly confusing sometimes. Also, some annoying repetition--when Ingledove is calling her brother, she repeats his name: "Lang, Lang." And she has to call him a lot, since a sort of succubus-like creature has bitten him, injected him with poison, and is calling him with its song.

I'd be very interested to hear what others thought of this book. If I'd read it as a kid, I think I would have been lost in the language and the weirdness very quickly.

(The book's due out in May.)

Tags: books, sf/f, ya

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