Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Spellcoats (MG)

The Spellcoats. Diana Wynne Jones. (The Dalemark Quartet). 1979. HarperCollins. 280 pages.

I want to tell of our journey down the River. We are five. The eldest is my sister Robin. Next is my brother, Gull, and then my brother Hern. I come fourth, and I am called Tanaqui, which is a name from the scented rushes that line the River. This makes me the odd one out in names, because my youngest brother is Mallard--only we always call him Duck.

Did I love it? I'm not sure that I did. Did I like it? Definitely! What I liked most about this one was the setting, the tone. There is something about the way Diana Wynne Jones tells a story. There is something about how she draws readers in slowly but surely. Not that this one has a slow-pace. (Though I wouldn't say the pace is ever thrilling.) It has action, adventure, mystery. All the things you'd expect to find in a fantasy novel, but it's uniquely told, in my opinion. Our heroine, Tanaqui, is weaving this story into two coats--two spellcoats. And there is a richness in the details, in the setting, in the telling. If you're in the right mood, then I think it has great potential. If you're expecting a light, fun, humor-oriented fantasy like Wee Free Men or The Amulet of Samarkand, then you might be disappointed.

My review of Cart and Cwidder.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Fiona 8:23 PM  

I really love the Dalemark Quartet - although I've read them all I've read the 4th one dozens of times. It took me years to be able to FINALLY get hold of all four.

Must re-read them soon. I agree with how you said "There is something about the way Diana Wynne Jones tells a story. There is something about how she draws readers in slowly but surely."

I don't know quite how she does it but she has this way about her doesn't she... I don't know what it is and I can't describe what makes her different.

I think... it feels like SHE is telling you this story. That's how it feels to me and it's so natural that it feels that it's already there in my imagination and always has been.

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