Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE FATAL CHILD by John Dickinson Kirkus Star

THE FATAL CHILD

By John Dickinson

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-75110-0
Publisher: David Fickling/Random

The culmination of a superlative fantasy trilogy offers a heartbreaking vision of violence, failure, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption. Ambrose, the fugitive Prince Under the Sky, offers judgment to those who seek him out. When the beautiful princess Atti comes demanding vengeance, she sets in motion his quest to use dark magic to take power from the feckless, brutal king, hoping to defy a goddess’s curse and bring peace to the blood-soaked land. Their tragedy, viewed through the eyes of a devoted maidservant and a world-weary counselor, presents all four as textured, complex and sympathetic, if not necessarily likable. The setting, steeped in its own distinctive history, geography and intricate interplay of politics and religion, is vividly present; the language—formal, poetic, rich in description and drenched with the melancholy weight of inevitable doom—shapes the whole. While the tale can be appreciated on its own merits, alert readers will find additional layers of subtle allusions and symbolism. By no means an easy read, it is immensely rewarding, for older teens or adults with the courage to make the journey. (Fantasy. YA)