Thursday, May 08, 2008

Crispin: The Edge of the World

Avi. 2006. Crispin: At The Edge of the World.

Have you ever loved a book so much you ended up hating it? I read the first Crispin book a few weeks ago. (Click here to refresh your memory unless you're perfect and know-it-all.) I didn't know what to expect with the first one, but I went into the second with very high hopes. There proved my mistake. It's not that it's awful. It's not. It's that I'm a baby. Let me clarify, the tone of both books is a balancing act between hope and despair and life and death. Crispin is an orphan on the run. In the first book, he teamed up with a man named Bear, a man who was flawed it's true, but a man who was as good as a man could be when it came to loving and protecting and teaching a young boy in great need. It was interesting. It was suspenseful. It didn't end on the brightest note, but it was relatively good ending. Meaning that there was still hope but plenty of doubt and danger thrown in as well.

Crispin: At The Edge of the World opens right where Crispin ended. But in this case, I would have probably been better off not knowing what happened next. My imagination being much kinder towards these characters than Avi's proved to be. Don't get me wrong. My imagination would have been in fantasy land. Clearly in the territory of happily-ever-after. Avi's was much more realistic, much more rustic and down-to-earth. Humanity is very flawed in Avi's novels and that makes them authentic. This book drowns in reality--the death, the danger, the disease, the despair, the confusion--so it may be authentic and true to the time period. Politics and war were deadly, have always been deadly. We do meet a few new characters in this one. And Crispin does make another connection, another friendship, he gets a "sister" of sorts. But everything about this novel--almost--is just so dark and so depressing.

Maybe it's a mood thing. Maybe I'm just being a baby not wanting a certain someone to die. Maybe I'm being a baby because I don't like the characters always always always being on the edge of certain disaster and death. Maybe I like my characters to be safe and loved and happy. I'm sure it's a mood thing. I can handle death and grief and despair at certain times, many a dark book has gotten a good review. But this one, for some reason, I just wanted it to be completely different than what it was. Dare I say, I think I want this one Disney-fied.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

I think my problem with it was that Bear, a great character and funny guy, is tortured continually through the book in a variety of agonizing, unpleasant ways. He was the sole source of brevity in the first book, and to see him broken again and again just killed me. The title suffered for the lack of humor where it could have been great. Just my two cents. I too liked the original much more.

A Stranger in a Strange Land said...

i read both books, i loved them and I love Bear and crispin

Unknown said...

Well, I really really love reading and read basically everything that i have but I have to say, this book is really good. From the cover, it looks sooooo boring! I mean like a ship??????? What kind of cover is that? But that's what I thought when I say the first book soooo I guess that it's just the cover... You know the saying, it's the inside not the outside? That's basically it. And for the people that didn't read I completly recommend this book because it is just soooooooo good and a must read.

Unknown said...

I so agree with your review. Somehow, I want fiction to elevate real life, not replicate it.
I'm always a kid at heart.