Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Dark Horse (Marcus Sedgwick)
After being sorely disappointed with Marcus Sedgwick's The Book of Dead Days, I wasn't too keen about reading his other works. But somehow, I couldn't resist the appeal of The Dark Horse, and I'm glad for it.
Mouse is a foundling. When Sigurd's tribe saves her from wolves and adopts her into their own, they grow to be brother and sister, content with their peaceful way of life. But this all changes when they come across a mysterious box and the strange man who comes with it. Mr. Sedgwick's novel may read like an archetype but in the end, it gave me one of the most unexpected developments I've encountered, right up there to finding out who four of the five last Cylons are. Maybe even more.
I'm often at a loss for words when I encounter a book that I truly enjoy, and this is one of those times. I found that Dark Horse didn't have that self-aware air that I disliked so much about Dead Days. It moved at such a brisk pace, with each plot point equally important to the unravelling of the mystery. The language is as sparse and stark as the setting, and it serves to underscore the story's themes.
Mr. Sedgwick proves that there's still something unexpected and original present in young adult fiction. This made me even want to give Dead Days another chance, if only I didn't give my copy away as a Christmas present. Come to think of it, if all his books were this good, then I'll be filling my shelf with his works pretty soon.