A young girl goes on a journey to see what is attacking the majic in their land. Her mother has taught her nothing so understandably Grayling is reluctant. She collects companions on the way that are largly unhelpful. Grayling grows in confidence, everyone stays the same. The book does move at a good pace with 200 pages and gets quickly to the climax. Alot of archaic language is used with not a lot of context clues to figure out what some of the words are. Also the regular vocabulary is very advanced, using words such as coddling or illustrous. This book is similar to "Red" but with less likable characters.
I have loved Karen Cushman's other books, but this one fell flat for me. I didn't find it holding my interest or find myself asking what would happen next. I was just ready for it to be over. There was one surprise in the book and that was the only enjoyable piece for me. This is definitely a "clean" book and I would have no problem recommending it for young readers.
I read Grayling's Song in a day. While that is a positive in the book's favour, it's definitely not a new middle grade favourite for me. This definitely one of those novels where I feel like adults wouid have a deeper appreciation for the language and the story itself, and that makes it harder to recommend for younger readers.
There is a rich fantasy world in this novel that resembles medieval England. I really loved the setting and the way in which it captures the story. Cushman's writing is very vivid, almost dreamlike, and she definitely challenges readers with her use of language. As an adult reading this novel, I can appreciate the use of language and the way in which it captures the world and the characters, but at the same time I feel like if I was a middle grader reading this book, I'd have a bit of a hard time with this book.
I admit though, I really did struggle at times with the characters. For me, the characters in this novel were missing a spark for me. They didn't have the same kind of layering that I generally like in middle grade, so I found it hard to fall in love with them. For me the most memorable character was Pookia, whom I adored. I just thought he was such a delightful character!
Grayling's Song is beautifully written and I do think it will have an audience with fantasy fans, especially older ones. There's beautiful writing and a rich world in need of exploring. I just wish that I had personally enjoyed it more than I did.
Grayling isn't brave, or adventurous, or smart. But she'll have to act like she's all three if she wants to save her mother, a magically gifted wise woman. In order to fight the evil spell that's transforming her mother into a tree, Grayling uses a special song to call for help, and winds up with a team of magical misfits: a vain enchantress, a shape-shifting mouse, a weather-witch and her annoying assistant, and a wizard who specialises in cheese. Set in a medieval-style fantasy world, Grayling's Song will bewitch readers who prefer a quirky take on typical quest stories.
Karen Cushman is well known for writing medieval historical fiction, so it was interesting to see her bring a magical element to her writing. I really liked this book, the story of a girl from a small village who goes out in search of a cure for a dark force that is plaguing people with magic. The world, while fantastic, is clearly heavily based on medieval England, and is, I think, an interesting look at the ways that magic and witchcraft and miraculous remedies were a part of life back then -- even if life didn't involve literal magic, as is the case here. It's a cool concept, nonetheless, and this is a lovely coming-of-age tale from start to finish.
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