Saturday, May 19, 2012

Drowned Ammet

by Diana Wynne Jones

Grade: 3 stars
Story: Mitt lives in poverty with his mother, in a earldom where the earl is pretty much a tyrant. Because he's a "free soul" (his mother's words), he plans to kill the tyrant earl on the day of the Sea Festival (incidentally, his birthday). Things go wrong, and stuff happens, and he ends up ... well, that would be spoiling it rather, so I'll stop now.

Thoughts: This was Diana Wynne Jones, the most consummate story teller I've read, so of course it was going to be awesome. For a DWJ, it was slightly harder to read, though. Every once in a while I come across one like that, that actually continues to be slightly harder to read till the end. Perhaps because it was slightly darker than hers usually are, and Mitt was a bit of a jerk? But no, I don't think so. Because DWJ is often very dark indeed, in some strange but glorious mix between fairy-tale dark and reality dark. And she's also awesome at writing characters that are so real in their jerkiness, but completely sympathetic as well.
So I dunno. I just didn't love Mitt. He annoyed me.

I loved the atmosphere of the book though. Especially the islands. They, and Mitt's first glimpse of them as a young boy, reminded me so much of C. S. Lewis's description of the Island in The Pilgrim's Regress (an awesome book--one of my favourites). And you felt the squalor of the town, and the hugeness of the deep ocean, and the breezy happiness of Mitt's childhood home. It was wonderful.

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