Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson

It's hard to articulate why, but this struck me as a very unusual fantasy book almost from the beginning. The story is about Tilja, the elder daughter on a farm where the country's magical defenses are kept up. But the magic is starting to fail, and someone has to venture into the evil Empire to find the man who can refresh them. The characters are tons of fun--Tilja's grandmother, Meena, and two people from the other magic place, Alnor and his grandson Tahl--and the magic is unusual. I wouldn't call the novel a work of genius, but it was a fun read. The one thing that really bothered me--almost throughout the book--was that the characters seemed to take too much for granted. I was very suspicious of certain characters, and it was all explained away too easily. However, I'm utterly fascinated by Tilja's strange ability and wish there were sequels to this. Actually, looking on Amazon, it looks like there is, but it's not about the same characters and frankly I'm confused--it sounds as though it's set in the future and the past. However, I have also discovered that this author also wrote a book I read many times as a kid, Eva, about a girl who gets her brain transplanted into the body of a chimp. It's actually really good. Also he's married to Robin McKinley!

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