Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Wikkeling (MG)

The Wikkeling. Steven Arntson. Illustrated by Daniela J. Terrazzini. 2011. Running Kids Press. 235 pages.

Prologue: The Old City lies on a long, low hill. It is dangerous and dilapidated.

Chapter one: "Sensible students succeed splendidly!" said Ms. Span, a primly dressed teacher sitting behind a computer at the front of the class, her thick, black eyebrows arching over the top of her reading glasses. "Yes, Ms. Span!" said the students. They sat in neat rows that filled the room, faces lit yellow from the light of their own computers.

I'm not sure that The Wikkeling is right for every reader, but I think some readers will find it deliciously creepy and haunting. This dystopian fantasy focuses on education, on the education system. (Though the focus isn't exclusively on schools and classrooms and tests. We do get a wider glimpse of this society, and all the "corrections" they've made.)

In this society, almost every one lives in the Addition, lives in plastic houses, I believe. But that isn't the case for our heroine, Henrietta, or her much younger friend, Rose. She still lives with her family in an older house, though there is still pressure for them all to move to a safer house, a house that wouldn't be a 'danger'. And, Rose, well, she lives in a GREAT place. But that is a big, big secret. These two are friends with Gary, Ms. Span's son. And these three discover something mysteriously wonderful in Henrietta's attic. And it all begins with a discovery of a cat.

I enjoyed this one. I'm not sure I loved it exactly. It was a little too weird. (Like Coraline was a little too weird for me to love.) But I certainly enjoyed it; I'm glad I read it. I think this novel had a great blend to it. I definitely found it interesting. And the chapter on the test is a great example of that. (I also loved the relationship between Henrietta and her grandfather, and how he becomes involved in this mystery.)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Trev 9:10 AM  

Sounds like a book I would like. Thanks for reviewing =D

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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