First in a Trilogy
Finished: May 27, 2008
First Published: May 27, 2008
Genre: YA fantasy
Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Random House Canada. Also qualifies for the YA Challenge
These are the last words I will write.
Comments: Wow, this was an amazing book. There are so many layers to the story that I find it difficult to attempt to summarize but attempt I will. The main narrator, Leo, lives in the world of Malonia. This is a military run world. Soldiers patrol the streets. Children go to military school to learn to fight not so much to read and write. Children with powers are sent to 'special' schools where they are locked up and kept under control. People with mental problems are labeled 'Unacceptables' and taken away by soldiers. It is in this world that Leo lives and one day he finds a blank book. But words start appearing in the book and a story unfolds. It is a tale set in a fairy tale land called England about the boy who should be the true king of Malonia, but was exiled to this world when his father, the former King, and his mother were murdered.
Both story lines follow two teenage boys, approx. the same age. They are relatively happy, or shall we say content at the beginning but events happen in their lives and they become aware of realities and truths that lead them into sadness and despair. A running theme throughout the novel is that there are other things in life besides being happy. This is a dark tale; one that is melancholy and sad. If you like your books to have a happy ending you won't find one here but you will find acceptance and a glimmer of hope.
I really enjoyed this book. It has such a melancholy atmosphere, I found myself occasionally putting it down briefly to gather my thoughts. The characters are wonderfully developed and I found myself feeling deeply for all concerned. This is the first in a proposed trilogy and I very much look forward to following these characters into the sequel. This haunting fantasy with mature themes of death, suicide, and war is recommended to older YAs and adults.