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THE WILD HUNT by Jane Yolen


by Jane Yolen & illustrated by Francisco Mora

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-15-200211-1
Publisher: Harcourt

A gruesome fantasy, as cold and disturbing as a blood-stained suit of armor in a field of wildflowers. The story concerns two boys, Jerold and Gerund, who exist in parallel realities and become pawns in an evil knight's quest. Yolen strips the genre down to the bare bones. All the elements of epic fantasy are present: good and evil, darkness and light, a black knight, young hero, castle, creatures. There are no real relationships presented; each character seems to wander alone through the mists, trying to figure out what is happening in this sad and lonely work. Readers drift through an evocative netherworld, as if the traditions and symbols of this literature are in themselves, enough. That may be true, in another book. Yolen could have been writing a meditation on the genre by trying to evoke the actual experience of reading a fantastic mystical work; and the work could have been a presentation of classic symbols in a sort of visionary hieroglyph that would speak to readers directly, unburdened by a conventional narrative. But the elements just never come together; readers may not understand the deeper meanings, because --perhaps--there aren't any. The language can't sustain the book's dreamlike qualities, and its few bright flourishes get buried. (Fiction. 10+)