This was such a fun good read! I’m a sucker for old-fashioned fairy tales with some twists, I find them very refreshing. The tendency for fairy tales is to repeat story lines and recycle old ideas. This one did…and didn’t. It addressed the dangers of being cautious vs. being headstrong and impulsive, exploring the strengths and weaknesses in both. Had some twists that I saw coming a mile away, and some that seemed to come out of nowhere. But the baddies were bad, the goodies were good – just as a fairy tale should be.
Our story begins with two adolescents, Odo and Eleanor, best friends since childhood. They find a sword buried in the mud in the river and despite Eleanor’s longing to become a knight since forever, the sword (enchanted, talking, you know the type) chooses Odo, who has NEVER wanted to be a knight. The sword insists on finding a quest, since that is what knights do and Odo reluctantly agrees. The two friends, now Sir Odo and his squire Eleanor set out to discover where their river has gone, because the river is drying up and causing hardship to all the villages along its route. Along they way they meet good people and bad people, and sometimes it’s tricky to tell the difference between the two. Odo is overly cautious, which gets him into trouble sometime, and Eleanor is overly impulsive, which gets her into trouble sometimes before they start figuring out how to balance the two extremes. The story ends with a tantalizing hint at a sequel, which I am eagerly looking forward to reading. I’d recommend this book to upper elementary/middle grade/young adult readers who enjoy fantasy without being overburdened with magic or paranormal romance.
There is some violence – it is about knights after all – but nothing is described in gory detail. The consequences of violence is explored, which I appreciated – violence and death weren’t just glossed over as easily as culture dismisses it these days. Although the protagonists were of different genders, there was no hint of romance or anything beyond a good, solid friendship.
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