Saturday, February 03, 2007

Series on a Series, Part Two

Rowan of Rin, by Emily Rodda. I grabbed this one by mistake, as it does not have any sequels. It was pretty good, in a non-remarkable sort of way. The sentence structure was good: it used fragments, but in an acceptable sort of way; the characters were real enough, considering the audience; and some of the events were unexpected, but worked with the plot. It wasn't terribly exciting, but the main character is one with whom many young readers can identify. Into the Cold Fire, by Lynne Ewing. Book Two, after Goddess of the Night. It was about the same as the original. It looks like there are about a dozen of these, each focusing on a different character. You can probably expect the same sort of plot from the rest of the books, as the author's already used it in the first two: crush, problems with the enemy, problems with the crushee, confrontation with the enemy, resolution with the crushee. Something interesting this author uses is the idea of the girls dressing for battle. Before the confrontation, the main character gets dressed, not to be pretty, but as part of a pre-battle ritual. It's symbolism that's not often used any more. Little House in the Highlands, by Melissa Wiley. This had some similarities with the original Little House series: it followed the family life of a young girl for about a year, it was a romanticised version of a more rustic time, the reading level and sentence structure were about the same. My first reservation is that the author included alot of vernacular and spelled dialogue as it would have been pronounced. While many authors do this, it seems too soon for young readers unfamiliar with both the idea and the accent in question. My second reservation is the historical inaccuracies. First, the characters are always wearing plaid, but the author doesn't stay true to clan tartans and patterns, something very important to Scots. Second, the characters make brief mention of the Second Jacobite Uprising, after which, all tartans and kilts were banned by the English. The little blurb about the author on the back inside cover claims she has been a long-time student of Scottish history, but these blatant inaccuracies make me lose all respect for her. Six year olds can understand team colors and bans. The Secret of the Old Clock, by Carolyn Keene. Mmm, exciting 1930's action literature. The most dangerous thing that happens is a couple people get locked in a closet. It's pretty boring all around.