Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Endymion Spring

Endymion Spring, by Mathew Skelton
http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/endymion/

Children/Early YA/Fantasy/Historical/Suspense

This hefty tome is billed as the next Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and The Da Vinci Code all rolled into one. Those are some giant shoes to fill, and I’m not sure that it does. The comparison to young Harold strikes me as odd, except that it is a fantastical book that takes place within the structure of the real world. As for His Dark Materials, well, the book takes place largely in and around Oxford University, which is reminiscent of Lyra’s and Will’s adventures in Oxford. The Da Vinci Code comparison stems, I think, from the plot of the book. The prose in this one far and away excedes anything that Mr. Dan Brown has been able to come up with as yet. The story revolves around a mysterious and magical ancient artefact that the main characters become involved with and must attempt to protect from those who would exploit it.

The story itself is in two parts, and jumps back and forth between the two in chapters that are delineated by differently coloured paper in the book. One section of the story is the tale of Endymion Spring, in the year of the invention of the printing press, in and around Johann Gutenberg’s workshop, and the just about to be built Bodleian. The other half of the book takes place in what one assumes is modern day Oxford, where two American children, in Oxford while their mother does research, come across Endymion Spring in the college libraries, and are sucked into the mystery and a terrifying adventure. (Hopefully this hasn’t given anything away).

I liked the book. For book lovers the references to the Bodleian library, Gutenberg, and such was fun. The book also involves some other fun legends, like the story of Faust. Altogether a very enjoyable read, but I’m not so sure it will become the next Harry Potter or His Dark Materials. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the next Inkheart.

6 comments:

kidletsmum said...

It sounds intriguing! I want to read it! I love your book reviews. I WISH I had a public library. I shall now go pout...

Maggie said...

Even the next 'Inkheart' isn't too shabby. Sounds good! I want to read it . :)

MadJenny said...

kjb - that is too bad about the public library thing. Is there any kind of English speaking ex-pats society with books that you can use at all? (like how they have the Russian Library in Thornhill or the Italian Community thing in Woodbridge)

Maggie - "Inkheart" is awesome! Have you read the sequel "Inkspell"? I can't wait for the third one.

Maggie said...

I *loved* 'Inkspell'! Even more than 'Inkheart'! Can't wait to read the third one either. :D

ru said...

and differently coloured paper. i like that people are trying to emphasize the physical nature of the act of reading. it can and should (at times) be more than just words on a page, and while zines have the freedom to move beyond that, it is nice when larger publishing entities take a chance on that sort of book...

MadJenny said...

ru - on that note, the cover art of this one is also really neat. The dust jacket is textured to feel like dragon skin, which, in the context of the book, is really cool. I love how they're playing with textures on the dust jackets and covers of books now.