WARRIORS OF ALAVNA by N.M. Browne

WARRIORS OF ALAVNA

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

On a field trip, British students Ursula and Dan disappear into a yellow-colored fog. The other side of the fog is an alternate Britain in the time of the Roman conquest. The central characters—one a six-foot-tall, overweight teenage girl, the other a short, always-doing-the-right-thing male classmate, are fully developed and likable. Ursula may be an outsider, but she has grit and humor. Dan is a popular, smart jock, but he is also protective and empathetic. The characterization proffers enjoyable ironies: Ursula becomes a warrior and a sorcerer; Dan becomes a “berserker.” Secondary characters are important. In addition to their reality as people, they portray the beliefs of the time and lend depth to the story. The plot is great: short periods in which the characters grow and develop skills sandwiched between the violence of battles. The world-building, in which ecological, historical, and cultural elements both support and energize the plot, is masterful. The climax works—barely—because the deft plotting leaves little time for thought. An unfortunate number of loose threads, in both characterization and resolution, provide an unsatisfying ending that leaves readers wondering if the story is really finished or if the author plans a sequel. These are minor cavils against a skillfully written, involving fantasy. The mysterious beginning and the plot’s brisk progress will catch the interest of YA readers; the development of unlikely friendships among the very different characters and the coming-of-age story will sustain it—author victorious. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-58234-775-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002




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