Saturday, August 15, 2015

Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville - The Wanderer is Weary

Pro: Definitely wasn't weary reading this!
Con: None now. At the time the third book wasn't even close to coming out.

The Bottom Line: Fun times all around. Now go get the next book.

If you haven’t read the first book, Into the Land of the Unicorns then shhh! Don’t read this part!!

When we left off with Cara, she had finished her journey to the unicorn Queen, Arabella Skydancer. With her were Lightfoot, the Squijum, the Dimblethum, and Thomas the Tinker. She had found out that the man after her and her grandmother was actually her father, Ian Hunter, and that Cara herself was actually a Hunter by blood as well. Cara also now had the gift of tongues from the dragon Firethroat and is able to speak to anyone and anything in Luster. And now, she must start on her journey back home to find her grandmother, Ivy Morris, who is also The Wanderer, and bring her back to Luster.

Ok, you’re good to go now.

Bruce Coville has done it again in Song of the Wanderer. At twenty-six chapters and 330 pages, this book is twice as long as the first. But that is not in any way a bad thing. On the contrary – many times thicker books mean more goodies for the reader!

Cara is once more setting off on a journey through the land of Luster in order to find a way back to Earth and to her grandmother. She leaves with a small glory of unicorns (a glory is the name for a group of unicorns – like a herd of cows, that sort of thing), Moonheart, who is Lightfoot’s gruff uncle, Finder, a unicorn who can find almost anything, and Belle, one of the Queen’s personal guard who enjoys a good battle. For reasons unknown to Cara, Lightfoot did not return to Summerhaven due to ill feelings between him and the other unicorns, and the Dimblethum simply feels unwelcome there. However, she does still have the Squijum and Thomas the Tinker to join her on their trek across Luster.

They must find the one called the Geomancer, who will tell Cara the exact place she must cross between worlds with the use of the amulet. They must avoid getting lost in an enchanted forest. They must fight against nasty delvers. Cara must resist the ever-persistent Beloved, who is somehow able to reach her, even across worlds. And still, so many questions plague Cara: where is her mother? Is her grandmother okay? How could her father be a hunter of unicorns? Will she see Lightfoot and the Dimblethum again? And just how will she get back to Earth?

Their trails take them into the underground caves of Grimwold, along the shores of River Silver, and to the desolate lands of Northern Waste. New friends will meet and join them on the way, such as Medafil and Jaques, who has a secret of his own, and others who are not so friendly, such as the unpredictable dragon Ebillan.

Through all this Cara’s past is unraveled, as is her grandmother’s. Many twists and turns reveal secrets long kept – and the end is the last thing anyone would have expected.

And yet there is still room for more.

Though this book is mostly one long travel book without many sudden turns (the turns that occur are subtle and not really unexpected, aside from a couple here and there), but it is still highly enjoyable. A lot of questions are answered and as things progress, they just get more and more “whoa” as you read. I read this book in two days (which adds up to just a matter of hours, really), so as you can see, it is hard to put down. I especially like the way Coville portrayed the gryphon and the words the gryphon used ("Gadfingled" comes to mind), I thought it was great and fit wonderfully.

If you were to look for this book in the bookstore, you would find it in the "young reader" section - suggested ages are 9-12 (wow, it's been so long since I've been a young reader). But then there are always kids out there at various ages that wouldn't have a problem with it. My little sister is actually in high school, but she's had the first one for a while and someone (me) finally made the effort to finish what was started. It's a smooth read and the only words kids might have trouble with might be a couple of the names (and very few at that), or the words the gryphon uses when he's fussing about something. Let's face it - if your kid has no problem reading Harry Potter, then this is a walk in the park.

At the time I originally wrote this review the year was 2005 and there was no third book and this one was copywritten in 1999. And there had to be one given the sort of ending that this book has. Luckily Bruce either never completely stopped on this series or went back to it because in 2008 Dark Whispers came out and the series wrapped up in 2010. I still haven't finished it (because I couldn't), but now that I'm going through these reviews, I think I'll have to revisit the land of Luster and finally discover the whole story. After all, I want to know what they’re going to do about Beloved.

That chick needs to go.


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