LYONESSE by Sam Llewellyn
Kirkus Star


Book One: The Well Between the Worlds
Age Range: 10 - 14
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Quietly superb prose and a memorable, unassuming hero make this Arthurian-flavored world fresh and beautiful even when it’s bitterly ugly. A spurious accusation of swimming (implying he’s a Cross between human and monster) yanks 11-year-old Idris out of his calm seaside life. A stranger spirits him away from the death sentence to a choking, fetid city, the Valley of Apples. There Idris trains as a monstergroom, capturing screaming monsters—“burners”—from massive Wells rising from a world of water. The narrative deftly depicts the blend of men’s cruel greed with unthinking habit as they use these combustive burners to fuel machines used for luxury and dam-building as Lyonesse sinks lower than the encircling sea. Llewellyn writes with a gentle hand, neither minimizing nor bombarding readers with moral interpretation. Idris’s subtle fortitude and inherent generosity survive his discovery that he’s rightful King and must wrest the land from a Cross regent trying to drown everything in dark, alien waters. Flawed by a gratuitous, pervasive equation of evil with fat, but mainly a rich and unpretentious gem. (map, author’s note) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-439-93469-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2009


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