THE LEGEND OF LADY ILENA by Patricia Malone

THE LEGEND OF LADY ILENA

Age Range: 11 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sword-swinging maiden encounters dangerous intrigue in newcomer Malone’s tepid historical adventure. Fifteen-year-old Ilena always felt like an outsider in the sixth-century north British village where she was raised. Although respectful of the villagers’ Druid faith, her family is Christian; and unlike the other girls, Ilena was raised to be a warrior, not a wife. After her parents’ deaths, she follows their hints about her heritage to the fortress of Dun Alyn. Her journey leads to battles with blue-painted barbarians and slave-hunting raiders, but also refuge, friendship, and a hint of romance. None of this can prepare her for the challenges she faces at Dun Alyn, where everything she once knew about herself proves false, and where her very life is endangered by a destiny she never imagined. This all should be exciting stuff, and the notion of presenting a strong heroine from a little-known historical period is a worthy one. Unfortunately, her stoic bravery constrains Ilena from showing any personality except by mooning after a handsome warrior; the remaining characters are little more than plot contrivances and generic villains. While a historical afterword broadly sketches the political background of the period, the narrative is riddled with errors of detail that undermine the already tenuous plausibility that Celtic Britain displayed a politically correct gender equality and tolerance for ethnic and religious differences unmatched by the present day. Still, Ilena’s story has moments of high drama and a few genuine surprises, which might appeal to fantasy and adventure fans. Mediocre, but harmless. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-72915-4
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2001




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