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THE CUP OF THE WORLD by John Dickinson


by John Dickinson & illustrated by Assheton Gorton

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-75025-0
Publisher: David Fickling/Random

A medieval kingdom’s power struggle mirrors one young woman’s inner turmoil. Proud, beautiful Phaedra has rejected marriage for 17 years, unconsciously comparing her suitors to the literal man of her dreams. When he proves to be flesh and blood (albeit with powers beyond nature), she spurns a royal proposal to escape to his side. Her choice unwittingly plunges her country into civil war, and dark forces seeking release into the waking world will exact a terrible price. While fully realized and deeply human, Phaedra is an unlikable protagonist. She marches through most of her life like a clenched fist; bitter, angry, and willful; deliberately oblivious to the emotional nuances swirling about her. While readers will applaud her fierce independence and determination, they may identify less with her preoccupation with politics, status, and motherhood. The oblique writing style requires close re-reading to follow the complex intrigues and shifting alliances. Still, the lush, sensual descriptions, the carefully revealed backstory, and the taut atmosphere of looming menace all compel attention to the end. Dark and intelligent—for the sophisticated fantasy reader. (Fantasy. YA)