Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crosslyey-Holland

The blurb:
Crossley-Holland, a winner of the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, the Smarties Prize Bronze Medal, and the Tir Nan-Og Award, and numerous other distinctions, has written an absorbing fantasy novel for young adults with a formidable heroine. The Guardian praised Bracelet of Bones as “superb” Crossley-Holland writes “with a poet’s eye and love of words, painting a vivid picture of the world his characters move through, whether it’s the morning mist on the river or the smoke from a funeral pyre.”
One morning Solveig wakes to find her father, Viking mercenary Halfdan, has broken his promise to her by leaving to join the Viking Guard in Constantinople, without her. Deciding to follow him, Solveig sets off in a tiny boat and into an epic adventure, encountering Swedish traders, a ghost-ship and a Russian king, braving arrow-storms and witnessing a living sacrifice. Through it all, Solveig’s belief in her father is unwavering. Will she ever reach Constantinople? And will her father be there? An imaginative and poignant novel that explores friendship and betrayal, the father-daughter relationship, the clash of religions and the journey from childhood to adulthood, Bracelet of Bones is a vivid adventure not to be missed.

Fourteen-year-old Solveig's mother died when she was very young. She lives with her stepmother, her step brothers and her father. Except that her father is often traveling with his lord, sailing, trading, and raiding. When the local wars and politics force her father to leave with their lord, Solveig decides to sail after him. She travels alone with little protection beyond a knife and her skills.

It is through her charm and luck and her ability to carve bone that she gains passage with a trading ship. Her encounters with the members of her traveling party and along her journey give us insight into the culture and issues of her time.

Bracelet of Bones is well written and though we discover other places and peoples with Solveig, there is no real resolution to the story - it feels as though the larger adventure still takes place, possibly in the next book in the series.

  • ISBN-10: 1623651123 - Hardcover $15.00
  • Publisher: Quercus; Reprint edition (March 11, 2014), 336 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program.

About the Author:
Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Arthur trilogy has been translated into 24 languages, and has sold more than one million copies worldwide. His re-tellings of traditional tale includes The Penguin Book of Norse Myths. He has won many awards for his fiction, including the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He is an Honorary Fellow of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, a patron of the Society of Storytelling, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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