Punk's Reviews > The Spellcoats

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones
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's review
Aug 04, 10

bookshelves: ya, fantasy
Read from August 02 to 04, 2010

YA Fantasy. SIX HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER, Tanaqui and her four siblings are forced out of their home and up the River, urged north to the sea by their older brother, Gull, who has been cursed by a powerful wizard.

Book three takes place in prehistoric Dalemark, a time when the land was a different shape and the divide between North and South didn't exist OR DID IT? Tanaqui's people are at war with fair-haired invaders, and after their father dies in battle, the children have no one to protect them when the villagers decide the kids -- blond, all of them -- are heathens with magical powers. So they hop in their boat and escape.

Unlike the first two books, this one is in first person, so the perspective is steady, no jumping around from person to person unexpectedly. On the other hand, the tense wiggles from past to present in a way that can be distracting.

I had a little trouble following who the Undying were and their exact relationship to the kids, but that'll happen when your gods have three names apiece and all of them are associated with the river. Also Tanaqui would figure stuff out and then not share with the class, so I wasn't always sure what her plan was or if it was even working.

I'm curious to see what happens in the final book because none of these books have really felt finished so far. In fact, this one ends right before the final battle. I'm beginning to suspect this series is about Dalemark more than any of its citizens, which is frustrating because I grow to like the characters and then the book ends before their stories are fully resolved.

Three stars. Realistic siblings with individual personalities, another long boat ride with wonderfully descriptive writing, and another story where faith is a central, tangible part of the characters' lives.
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