Jones, Diana Wynne. 1975. Cart and Cwidder. 214.
Overall, I liked this one. It was an enjoyable fantasy novel about a young boy coming-of-age and having adventures. Moril has only known one lifestyle. He's eleven (or twelve) and most of his life--for at least as far back as his memory takes him--he's lived a traveling life. His family lives in a cart--they're all minstrel performers--and they travel around and around and around performing in various villages. They're able to share news from one to the other as well as passing along personal messages from one to the other. They live in the country of Dalemark, and it's not as peaceful and free as one would hope. There's strife and division. There is no king. Just different earls or lords ruling over smaller regions. Divided into North versus South at times. In all his years, he never realized just how dangerous and unpredictable life could be. He took for granted that life would treat his family kindly. That things would stay the same. Okay, maybe they're not wealthy. Maybe they're just surviving with the barest of essentials. Maybe there are times when they're hungrier than they would like. When the money for performing isn't coming is as they'd hoped. Their lives are far from grand--or even comfortable. But there's the security of having his father nearby.
Moril begins to notice things a bit more closely when the family takes in Kialan, a young boy they've promised passage North. (Few people are allowed the freedom to travel from district to district or region to region.) And so it begins...these changes aren't necessarily happy ones. But they're life-changing, character-building ones.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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