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Elidor

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,079 ratings  ·  157 reviews
A mechanical street map, a deserted slum, a church in ruins, and a football. Four ordinary things lead the Watson children on an extraordinary adventure to a magical land called Elidor. In pursuit of four ancient treasures, the forces of evil have crossed over into our world, and it falls to the Watson children to find the treasures, seal the bridge between worlds, and gua ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1965)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,079 ratings  ·  157 reviews


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Mark Lawrence
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
In 1967 Stephen King first got the idea to write an epic series inspired by the poem "Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning in 1855. And Browning took the line from King Lear, written by Shakespeare in 1607 ... in which it is a line of nonsense from a man pretending madness.

However King was not the first fantasy writer to draw inspiration from the line and write a book whose hero, Roland, engaged in an epic struggle. Alan Garner (under-sung giant of fantasy literature) publis
...more
Bionic Jean
Elidor is a short novel, a favourite from late childhood. Timeless, visionary, a tale of magic and myth, of hope and depair, it was a dark antidote to the happy Blyton bubble. In Alan Garner's world, reality had teeth and an edgy urban feel. Parts of his world were dark, malevolent and twisted. Primal forces were at work here and there was an impending sense of doom.

Having said this, much of the novel has humour and a sense of fun. Many years later, a reader inevitably has a different perspectiv
...more
Hilary
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy stories about magic and other worlds
4.5 stars

I first read this when I was 7 years old. A reread today 40 years later to my youngest who had forgotten hearing this some time ago when she was small.

Four siblings come to visit another world and help by taking back treasures into ours to keep them safe. When they hide the treasures they find they are still not safe and something is trying to find them. The descriptions of the shadowy figures trying to break through to our world are convincing and subtle, good spine tingling stuff for
...more
Cliff
Aug 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I seldom give bad reviews to a book. I assumed that it was because my selection process comes through via recommendations that I trust. But recently, Elidor found its way into my view. I can't honestly remember where it came from...perhaps from an author's discussion.

This book is often mentioned as having to help start the Fantasy genre. And there are comparisons to be made to Narnia. However, I've commented on this before in one of my other reviews...writing has evolved tremendously in the last
...more
Ian Kirkpatrick
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I was nine (back in the dim, distant past that we’ll refer to as 1968) I had a teacher called Mrs McEke. She was a strict disciplinarian but she probably needed to be given that her class was full of little oiks from the local council estate (like me!). Mrs McEke used to spend the last half-hour of every school day reading to us. She loved language and was a wonderful orator, bringing the stories to life through the strength of her vocal delivery.

Given that we were only nine she made some f
...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Roland, Helen, David and Nicholas Watson have escaped to Manchester to avoid helping out at their house move. After a detour down a creepy backstreet, they come upon a derelict church and a mysterious fiddle player.

Little do the children know that chance didn't bring them there, but a prophecy hundreds of years old. One by one they realise that the church isn't all it seems, as the fabric of time and space opens and they are propelled into the dying and strange world of El
...more
David
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
There's a case for saying that Alan Garner is the finest children's author of the late 20th century, but that does him a disservice. His books appeal to children and adults alike and Elidor is a fine example of his work. Set in Manchester, this is the story of four children who accidentally stumble into the dying world of Elidor and are set the task of safeguarding the four Treasures of Elidor against the forces of darkness that threaten to overwhelm it. But those forces find a way into our worl ...more
Nigel
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-ya
I miss my old edition of Elidor but it seems to have vanished along with its wonderful illustrations. Elidor, that strange halfway-house book between Garner's more conventional children's fantasies and his truly powerful, timeshifting work in Owl Service and Red Shift.

Four children find themselves almost randomly in an urban wasteland and pass through to another world. When they return they are carrying four Treasures which must be hidden and protected. As time goes on, the children begin to for
...more
Rose A
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book that absolutely terrified me as a child yet compelled me so much that I read it several times over. It has stuck with me into adulthood and flashes of it come back at odd times. The violinist in the ruined church, the pull of the standing stones, the desolation of Elidor and the absolute terror of the shadowy figures melting through the wall into the real world. Alan Garner is such an underrated writer. I need to read this again!
Bookguide
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When this was published, quality over quantity was still in evidence, and imagination prevails over description. Given the length of most fantasy books nowadays, with trilogies and series appearing more often than not, it's surprising that Alan Garner managed to pack so much tension into such a short book. As mother to a child who will always pick the shortest book on offer, and is therefore often left reading something which has no plot and little imagination, I've already advised him to try so ...more
Lia Marcoux
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I wish there was one more slot for "quite liked it, didn't REALLY like it, but certainly admired it, possibly more than I liked it". Elidor seems like it will be a conventional story of children saving the day in another world, so when the four siblings returned to their own right away it was a pleasant surprise. The "magic" is pleasingly grounded without being overexplained. The main character, Roland's, desperate persistent belief in the magic in the face of his siblings' attempts to forget le ...more
Mir
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
I think I was mistaken and did not actually read this as a child. I'm not positive, though, some of the elements seem familiar... ...more
Jed Mayer
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Minor Garner, but notable for its urban/suburban settings. A thoughtful update on the Narnia motif, with a boldly bleak ending subversive of the escapist fantasy tradition.
Sue Bridgwater
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Elidor, the mythical and legendary sources of the motifs are clear ; the wasteland and the maimed King are from the Grail legend, and the adventure which opens the book is based on the story of Childe Roland.
Garner believes that the force of the magical elements will be stronger if they can be seen to affect events in the objective world. He is aware of the significance of place, of the need to belong, to find the right place, to fit into and to accept oneself. Poignancy is heightened in Gar
...more
Alison
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The language and descriptions of landscapes are beautiful, but the characters of the children are not particularly vivid. I prefer Weirdstone.
extrapulp
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
"His mane flowed like a river in the moon: the point of the horn drew fire from the stars. Roland shivered with the effort of looking. He wanted to fix every detail in his mind for ever, so that no matter what else happened there would always be this." It's been a number of years since I read Garner's books. I pulled them out and started into ELIDOR. Turns out - I didn't remember any details of this book in the series, so it truly was a new reading to me. Like so many of my favorite writers, Gar ...more
Karen Field
Mar 28, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was written some years ago, and it shows in the choice of words used. I did find this distracting at the beginning of the story. In fact, some of the phrases used were so weird that I had no idea what was meant. This did give the book an old fashioned feel to it, and I think this is the reason it wasn’t popular in the library. Hence, the reason it found its way to the “bargain bin”.

Putting this fact aside, the story itself was well done. It is a typical children’s book, where the adult
...more
Michael Flores
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wondering around with a football, the four Watson children roam inside a Victorian red-brick church which is about to be demolished. They can't find their ball, which was carelessly kicked over the wall, and one by one the children disappear as they go to look for it. When only Roland is left, he finds that the heavy iron-handled door which the mysterious lame fiddler urges him to open, is a portal into the troubled land of Elidor.

Elidor is a wild and empty kingdom on the point of being devoured
...more
Colin MacDonald
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The problem may be that this isn't the kind of book I thought it was. The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying in a way that forced me to re-evaluate everything up till then. It feels like an E. Nesbit/C.S. Lewis children's adventure story until the last two pages, when it suddenly becomes a grown-up critique of that sort of story. It may be profound literature, but it doesn't work as a story. ...more
Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edel
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roland, Helen,Nicholas , and David are lured into an old church where things are not exactly as they seem. This is the beginning of an adventure for these children....They will find things they never knew were possible.
Dan Coxon
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's Garner, so it's utterly brilliant (of course). Interesting to see the kids in the story using a Ouija board - you don't get that in many modern children's novels! One of my favourite last lines ever, too: 'The song faded. The children were alone with the broken windows of a slum.' ...more
E.L.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-in-2014
Well, that was just ... weird.
Janelle
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childhood
I discovered Alan garner in my primary school library. I have always remembered his wonderful books.
Charlotte
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
just IMAGINE having the audacity to write and publish a children’s book that ends like this
Marc Cooper
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite how Alan Garner's books are labelled for children remains a mystery to me. This is the earliest of his works I've read, and it's no less a story than the others, though its age shows from being settled in a unique time period; not only postwar bombed-site Manchester, but also technologically with wireless and gramophone and television vertical hold.

Garner's signature terse yet tight prose and negligible character development is evident, as is his reliance on melding folklore and mythology
...more
Josh Angel
Sep 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This came highly recommended as a Classic Fantasy novel for kids. I got 10% into it and had to give up. I'm usually down for any book dripping in British-ness, but this one just failed to grab me. The characters seemed to have no differentiating features, and the plot was so simplistic that I found my mind wandering.

I think this one is just aimed at an audience too young for me, even with my 12 year old level of maturity. Not bad, just not good enough to spend my precious reading time on.
...more
Sabtael
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ends up really abruptly, I felt like a half of the book was missing. A pity, I liked the writing.
Darren
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karl Orbell
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children,fantasy,parallel worlds,alan garner
When I was younger, I very much enjoyed watching the BBC's adaptation of this book, Elidor, on TV. So have always had this book marked as one to read at some point; it took a couple of decades, but now I have. The book follows a family of four children, who accidentally get caught up in the salvation of a parallel world, Elidor. There are four treasures that must be kept safe to keep Elidor alive, but the worlds are thinly veiled from each other in places and the darkness of Elidor threatens to ...more
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Alan Garner OBE (born 17 October 1934) is an English novelist who is best known for his children's fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. His work is firmly rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the native Cheshire dialect.

Born into a working-class family in Conglet
...more

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