Gwyn's Reviews > The Woman Who Loved Reindeer

The Woman Who Loved Reindeer by Meredith Ann Pierce
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Aug 11, 10

bookshelves: young-adult, fantasy
Read from August 10 to 11, 2010

Caribou is a young woman forced by her prophetic dreams to live on the fringes of her tribe. She falls in love with a man who is not a man at all, but a trangl--a daimon that can turn into a reindeer and a man. When he leaves to join the great reindeer herd she is heartbroken, but he returns in time to lead Caribou and her people to safety as their land is destroyed by fires and earthquakes.

The Plot

Do not expect twists, turns, or complexities of any kind from this story. The plot is very simple, the first part largely taken up by Caribou's childhood, and the second part by her journey to her new home. Compared to the journeys undertaken by Aeriel is The Darkangel trilogy, which are peppered by strange characters and unusual setbacks, Caribou's journey is basically just one long sled ride, and most of the obstacles are geography-related. Although the pace is not slow, it is neither thrilling nor suspenseful.

The Characters

Although a few other characters make brief appearances, Caribou and Reindeer are the only real players in this book. To get a feeling for Caribou, think of Alice from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland: mostly drifting through, but with occasional outbursts of purpose. Reindeer is harder to describe, but Pierce does a good job of describing his otherness. Their names are interesting: in this setting, "caribou" and "reindeer" are the tame and wild members of the same species, respectively. In the same way, Reindeer is truly undomesticated, not even being human for most of the book, while Caribou, being human, is domesticated by definition.

The Prose

Like Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Pierce's other book, The Darkangel Trilogy the story drifts along through a strange world, the third-person narration focusing more on observing what's happening rather than showing the ins and outs of the main character's mind.

The Verdict

If not for the element of romance, this extremely simple book might be better suited for older children rather than young adults. However, the straightforward plot, short story, and minimal number of characters do not make it childish; this is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. Although not nearly as good as The Darkangel Trilogy, this is nonetheless a pleasant read.
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