Monday, July 14, 2008

Sic Transit Rosemary Sutcliff (again?)

7/21/2008--Thanks to Charlotte, who commented on which of the Sutcliffe are better. When I get back to the library, I will have to check. I'm glad I wasn't alone in disliking Frontier Wolf!

Even though I was stranded in an orthopedist's office for an hour and a half with ONLY Sutcliff's Frontier Wolf between me and being so bored that would start making sculptures out of the cotton balls and tongue depressors, it was still excruciatingly hard to slog through. I read the whole thing with close concentration, and I still can't really tell you what it's about. Oh, sorta Roman Alexios does something bad and gets sent to a fort at the edges of the Empire dealing with various British natives while running the Frontier Wolves who are keeping the peace in the area. Peace is hard to keep. Various people keep stealing horses and shooting arrows at them, and then the Frontier Wolves have to slog through the mud. There are battles, and a lot of people get killed, and then they deal with some more tribes.

Is it any wonder that even though two copies of this book has been in the library since 1980, this one has only been checked out once? To a really heavy-duty reader on my recommendation? And he wasn't wild about it? In theory, these books should go out well, because they are about a time period the students enjoy, and about wars, but the details are so ponderous that the stories are tough going.

I'm going to start weeding them. I'll plow through them first, but unless something really strikes me as marvelous, they are moving on to better homes.

Mary Stewart's A Walk in Wolf Wood was somewhat similar, but with more magic thrown in, and somehow much better. From the same time (1980), this read more like a much older book because of the suspension of disbelief the reader is asked to take. John and Margaret are on a picnic with their parents when they see a man in medeival dress going through the forest. They follow him, only to end up back in time, and being the only people who can save the man from an evil sorcerer who has turned him into a werwolf and impersonated him back at the castle so he can kill the king.

This was charming instead of onerous. Fans of Dealing with Dragons and maybe Tamora Pierce would like this one. I will have to look up this author's Arthurian Saga, which I am surprised to say is not in my library!

Eleanora Tate's The Secret of Gumbo Grove was a fine mystery, but the very, very Southern quality of it irked me. Mystyer fans who don't mind that will enjoy the story of Raisin, who helps an elderly neighbor clean up an old cemetary and in doing so, finds out many scandals and stories of the past. When one of these stories might help save the cemetary from destruction, Raisin and her friends do some research and find out that sometimes people don't want the past to be known.

Obviously taking a breather from the Stine.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Frontier Wolf is right down there with her worst books, all right. But please keep Warrier Scarlet, Mark of the Horse Lord, Eagle of the Ninth, and The Witch's Brat, if no others! These are books that live in one's mind forever.