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Go Saddle the Sea (Felix Brooke #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  297 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Felix Brooke, the orphaned son of an English soldier and an aristocratic Spanish mother, has been raised in the strict, loveless household of his grandfather in Villaverde, Spain. When Felix gains possession of a letter that contains a clue to the whereabouts of his father’s family, he gladly runs away form home to pursue the trail. His journey from Spain to far-off Englan ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published November 1st 1977)
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The first in a series of three: Bridle the Wind come next, and The Teeth of the Gale concludes the series. I especially loved the main character in this first book--so delightfully naughty. I love the way Aiken never backs away from throwing her characters in the very worst possible circumstances, and then gets them out of trouble in the most creative ways, usually by putting them in even worse situations than before, which sometimes hardly seems possible. The only reason I didn't give this five ...more
This is the first book of an excellent YA historical fiction (with a touch of fantasy) trilogy, just as exciting and fast-paced as I expected from Aiken. The orphaned son of an English soldier and a Spanish noblewoman, Felix has been raised in his grandfather's stern household in Spain, the only love he has known given him by the cook, Bernardina. On her deathbed, she gives him some of his father's possessions, including a mysterious letter which sets him off on a quest to find his heritage; alo ...more
Twelve-year-old Felix Brooke, ill-treated at home in Northwest Spain, resolves to travel to England to find out the truth about his father. Thus begins a young adult novel, set after the Peninsular Wars in the early 19th century, that is enjoyable both on its own merits but also for its many references, influences and intricacies. Joan Aiken wrote this after field trips to Galicia and her careful research and attention to detail add weight to the seeming authenticity of the story told by its you ...more
So I read this series 100% out of order and finished up with the first book. WOW! It is thoroughly delightful, just like the second book, BRIDLE THE WIND.

Felix jumps off the page as a likable, authentic kid dealing with crazy family dynamics and dangerous plot twists. He's not a saint, but he's full of heart and very good with his instincts. I love that the book portrays traveling in such an interesting but not sugarcoated way. There are complex morality lessons which are presented in a very ac
3 1/2 stars. I read every Joan Aiken book I could find when I was 10-12 years old. 'The Wolves of Willoughby Chase' had me hooked and looking for more. I can't say I remember much beyond that first book (it has been over 30 years), so when this one was in a box of books, I grabbed it. Felix runs into quite a bit of trouble and adventure, but when you are on a road trip with low funds that is not too inconceivable. He is extraordinarily lucky though. Even though it is geared towards children (at ...more
This author has a mastery of authentic nineteenth century language reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. And in fact the author's sister Jane Aiken Hodge wrote a biography of Heyer. Good pace, a rather unlikely ending, must read the next two in the series.
This was completely different from what I'd expected. A fabulous adventure, and the main character (a Spanish-reared lad of 12) was really rather an unusual hero, being such a fabulous mix of vulnerable, fearless and resourceful, quite unlike anything English, Australian or American we have come to expect. The story-telling voice was of the time, so only confident tweens would get into it. (I'm not sure my kids of 10 and 11 would manage it, being more drawn to a contemporary voice.) Once into it ...more
Fun adventure, though a lot of the coincidences or good fortune were a little too convenient for my taste. Still, an enjoyable read.
Ben Chenoweth
This is an action-packed, fast-paced novel, with engaging characters and dastardly villains. In other words, a typical Joan Aiken story!
Anthony Faber
Felix Brooke #1. A YA book. Felix runs away from his Spanish grandfather's house to go to his English father's relations, and manages to save the day everywhere he goes. It's a good read, though.
Terrific book. Exciting from start to finish. I'm going to read it again because I enjoyed it so much. Felix runs away from home and his strict grandfather, grandmother, and tutor. He knows his father's side of the family is from England so he plans to travel across Spain to get on a ship that will take him to England. Not everything goes as planned and he almost dies at the beginning of his journey from a foolish mistake. Along the way he meets people and helps them. There is also a plot agains ...more
This book was OK. Boy goes off on a journey, has a little adventure in each place he stops along the way.
I wanted to like it more than I did, not sure what put me off it. Maybe just the style, or the unrealism of the situations and solutions? It's not just me, I gave the book to my mum and she didn't finish it.
There are some good characters, and the sea journey towards the end was very exciting. But overall I found myself stubbornly reading on to see what happened in the end rather than for the
eh, tolerable. not one of my favorites.
Go Saddle the Sea is standard Joan Aiken. It features a plucky young hero who journeys about righting wrongs, encountering bumbling adults, making friends etc. Felix Brooke is half-English, half-Spanish 11-year-old, living with his hateful relations in Spain. Deciding to chuck it all, he runs away, hoping to find his father’s family in England. Along the way he encounters bumbling adults, makes friends, rights wrongs, etc. In the end, family secrets are revealed and Felix begins a new, better li ...more
I actually could give this a 5- maybe I'll change it...Such a great adventure book, and no science fiction (not that I'm a hater, the field is just SO saturated with non-reality right now and I've kind-of lost interest). It's not the easiest kids read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it- have already read the 2nd book as well and am waiting for the last one to be available at the library.

Just changed it to a 5. I was looking at the books I rated 4, and realized I liked it more than most of those.
Felix, a twelve-year-old boy, lives in his grandfather's house in Spain. He is unloved, other than by the cook. When she dies early in the book, Felix sets out alone on a mule to find his mother's family in England. Along the way he experiences exciting and sometimes terrifying adventures, meets some delightful people, and learns a great deal about the world.

This is really a book for younger teenagers, but it's extremely well-written and makes an excellent read-aloud book.
Maureen E
Felix is the half-English grandson of a Spanish aristocrat. His mother died when he was born and his family scorns him. With his two friends and protectors in the household dead, he sets out for England to find his father’s family. I was honestly surprised by the major twist in the story. But I had a hard time believing it. Still, Aiken’s characters are vivid enough that I might keep reading (apparently it’s a trilogy). [Feb. 2010]
Really loved this book! It started out a little slow and the main character's motivation in a couple of instances was a little juvenile, but then again this is a kid's book! By the end of the story I had really become invested in the character. He developed nicely and his relationships with other characters were also realistic and well developed.

I have the sequels on my list of "must read SOON!"
Dayna Smith
The first book in a new trilogy. Felix is the orphan son of a Spanish aristocrat and an English soldier. When he discovers a clue to the location of his father's family in England he decides to secretly leave his grandfather's home in Spain and travel to England to locate his father's family. Boys will enjoy this story.
I must have read these books at exactly the right age, as they're still my favourite Aiken novels. Of the three, though, this is probably my least favourite: it's a bit episodic, but then again that's a fairly accurate reflection of the sort of picaresque fiction which evidently inspired it.
Really fun adventure story for boys - somewhat reminiscent of Treasure Island although the plot is much more fanciful and morality prone.
This is the 1st part of Joan Aiken's 'Felix Brook' trilogy.
A fast moving, exciting historical story for children or young teens.
I loved this series, would love to revisit but I stupidly gave them to charity!
These three books are such a treasure - haven't read them in years!!
Love this book. I read it as a child and it's just as good now.
Clover White
I love Joan Aiken melodrama.
Alicia marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2015
Marian Mayuga
Marian Mayuga marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2015
Amy marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2015
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Joan Delano Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE,has been celebrating its 50th Anniversary with the publication of three brand new editions of the book and a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza.


More about Joan Aiken...

Other Books in the Series

Felix Brooke (3 books)
  • Bridle the Wind (Felix Brooke, #2)
  • The Teeth of the Gale (Felix Brooke, #3)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1) Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2) Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3) Jane Fairfax Arabel's Raven (Arabel and Mortimer, #1)

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