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I, Coriander

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  7,315 ratings  ·  757 reviews
In this exceptionally well-crafted tale, Coriander tells the story of her childhood in seventeenth-century London, and of her discovery that she has inherited magical powers from her mother, who was a fairy princess. But her mother's sudden death brings on a dark time for Coriander, and after mourning her beloved mother and dealing with the disappearance of her father and ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Puffin Books (first published August 15th 2005)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  7,315 ratings  ·  757 reviews

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Allison (The Allure of Books)
This book is magnificent, really. I am in awe of Sally Gardner, who didn't even learn how to read or write until she was 14 due to dyslexia! She sure showed all the people that wrote her off, didn't she?

This is a fairy tale...the story is lovely and lyrical and SO well written. It was at times hilarious...and other times, gut-wrenchingly horrifying. The evil stepmother is taken to a whole new level in Maud Leggs and Arise Fell.

The storyline with the prince isn't very well developed, but that is
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
I, Coriander is a fairy story set in Puritan England. Coriander is a young girl befallen on hard times--her mother passes away, her father is driven out by her evil stepmother and the rise of Oliver Cromwell ('cause he's a Royalist), and her stepmother's crazy Puritan zealot friend is out to get her. At one point, they even cut off all her hair and lock her in a cupboard, leaving her in there for three years. Except she went to fairyland, so it's all okay. Yup, Coriander is one of those characte ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cross between a historical novel and a fairy tale. This young reader's novel has been compared to Cinderella But to me it also has similarities with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. Beginning during the English Civil War of the 1640s Coriander is the child of a rich silk merchant and mother who is kindly 'cunning woman' and healer. Her mother dies and her father has to flee when accused of treason she is saddled with an evil step mother, Maud, who is fanatical Puritan and an e ...more
I picked this up at Books of Wonder on the strength of the lovely cover. Unfortunately, the contents didn't live up to it. Though I liked elements of the plot -- wherein the heroine is torn between her everyday life in Cromwell's England and the fairy world her mother came from -- it was often muddled, and the characterization was very shallow. Plus, there was a disturbing tendency to indicate goodness or badness by appearance: pretty much everyone who was fat, ugly, or otherwise unattractive wa ...more
Dec 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
While this book was a very unique and frequently well-written story, I did not enjoy it. The more the book went on, the more convenient things became. By the end all I could think of was "what the heck?"
The plot surrounds young Coriander Hobie, who at age six disobeys her mother and puts on a pair of silver shoes that transport her to another world. Upon returning, her mother dies, an evil step-mother appears, and her Father disappears.
Sounds like a perfect Cinderella set-up.
But it isn't! I, C
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngadult
A very different book! The cover and the description of it make it seem like it's for younger readers, a magical story about a girl with magical slippers. It's not! It's a very fascinating, multi-faceted tale about life in London during Cromwell's revolution, with its passionate politics and literal witch hunts. It's a story about fairies, and witches, friendship and love, evil preachers, charlatans, tailors, and spies. During the course of the book, Coriander ages from a naive nine to being a y ...more
Colleen Fauchelle
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Set in England in the 1600 during the time of Oliver Cromwell rule it is also set in a magical place where evil reigns. Coriander is the main character and when horrible people come into her life it is a fight for survival and it is going to take all her courage to fight in both realms.
This is really just under a four. Woulda been a solid 4, but the ending knocked it back to 3.5 territory.

Sally Gardner pulled no punches in I, Coriander.  Her Cromwell-era England is harsh and full and the perfect backdrop to the very dark - and very darkly human - tale she tells.  No one's life is simple or all that pretty in the book, but Coriander's is made even less so upon the arrival of her strictly religious stepmother, Maug Leggs, and Maud's...'preacher' Arise Fell.  Maud is pretty damn
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Becky by: Allison Mason
This was a lovely little fairy-tale story. I can just imagine reading this to little girls, who will inevitably beg for just one more chapter before having to go to bed. It's so easy to imagine said little girls dreaming of being a fairy princess, even though this isn't your typical fairy princess story.

From the very start, this story reminded me strongly of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Except, this story was much more entertaining, and fun, and concise. And not a single foo
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Full review.

I had no idea what to expect of this book, I guess, I thought it is going to be a childish fairy tale, a quick kid's book/fairy tale. What I got was something quite extraordinary.

At some points, when reading this book, I was excited and didn't wanted to let it go, but at others I felt like I have been asleep for half an hour and not noticed part of the plot twists and action that happened. I felt like the book was magical, but not really polished to become a gem. At the beginning I
May 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Would be fine, if it weren't for the glaring historical inaccuracies. And the bias. Or should I say prejudice? And the holes in the plots - historical and fantasy. And the ending. And the limp romance.

But seriously - if something is to pass itself off as historical fiction, whether fantasy or not, it should at least get most factual matters close to correct. This doesn't.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Don't Care About Historical Accuracy in Their Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Born in 1643 to a wealthy London merchant and his beautiful wife, Coriander Hobbie was raised in a loving and affectionate home, knowing only happiness until the day a mysteriously alluring pair of silver shoes was delivered to her house beside the Thames. This strange gift, which her mother refused to allow her to wear, introduced the first note of disquiet into Coriander's life, and was the beginning of a series of strange events that would bring her great heartache, and involve her in dangero ...more
May 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like a twisted tale
I loved this book. It was so refreshing to finally have an author capture the true essence and dignity of a child. Here's the thing: Do you remember that teacher in school that gave you respect and treated you like an adult. You were held accountable, treated with respect, and your opinions were really appreciated. For some reason, people talk down to children or act like they are not that intelligent. Kinda like a person talking really loud and slow to a deaf person. It looks stupid and doesn't ...more
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner

I have read quite a few books over the period of the self-proclaimed hiatus and I, Coriander was one of the books I had the misfortune to read. You can tell already it's going to be a rant? Good! Believe it or not, I have read this book in one day (I literally just finished it) and my rage was so great that I finally decided to actually post something! So get your seat belts on, you are in for a rollercoaster ride called the 'rant of a newborne hater'.

The Story: 1/5 stars

I really was trying
Mary Catelli
A tale set in the English Civil War and -- elsewhere. Coriander is the only child of her parents, and one birthday, she finds herself sent marvelous silver shoes. Her mother tries to keep them from her, but consequences follows. Such as an old woman and a crow seeing her.

Her tale winds on with many a fairy tale trope, though it's not a straight retelling. Her father's Royalist sentiments lead to a lot of trouble, including his having to remarry to distract Puritans from himself and her -- and th
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This one, I WILL say to people "You HAVE to read this!". It is a beautiful, modern-written (but not modern setting --- 1600s) fairy tale.
You can read the provided description for an idea of what it's about --- I'll restrict my comments to the writing.
I read this probably a couple of years ago, but I just noticed that she has a couple more books coming out, so I thought I would comment on this one before I read and comment on those.
Basically, her writing is lyrical, beautiful... and the stor
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
Published: 05/06/2006
Author: Sally Gardner
Recommended for: young adults

I was drawn to this book by its cover and the fact that it was set in the 1640s, prior to the Great Fire of London, a period of history I enjoy reading about.

I,Coriander is a beautifully written book full of description and intrigue. I read it in two days needless to say I couldnt put it down! The chapters are short and snappy. If you enjoy history thrown together with fairy magic, sorcery and the lives of Coriander and her s
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was a big of this when I read it a few years ago. It had a few logical flaws and flew pretty far under the radar as far as acclaim but I loved it anyway. Delicious magical realism combined with history, and gorgeous writing on top.

I'll fully admit that part of my love is because of that elegantly creepy, haunting cover! I can't explain why it sucks me in--but I could look at it for HOURS!!
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: young girls, teens, women
This book had a good idea and story behind it, although I didn't feel it was told very well. It seemed to be lacking...something. I think it needed to be longer and more in depth with better explanations or dialogue, but overall it wasn't a bad read. ...more
Sue Smith
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was lovely and exciting and terrifying - especially if you consider the story through the eyes of a younger person. Plus is was a very interesting perspective on Cromwell's England and all the strife that occurred because of that brief excursion into being a republic, and what that meant. Add into it all a wonderful dose of magic and evil and you have a wonderful coming of age story that anyone would enjoy. ...more
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was ya book. I read it anyway. It was well written and a quick read. I would recommend to read with preteens.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
I, Coriander is an original fairy tale for young adults set in the aftermath of Charles I's execution. With its emphasis on the interweaving of the mundane and fairy worlds, this novel also reminded me of Stardust at times, although more emphasis is placed on the historical setting and less on mythological puzzle-solving. Because I, Coriander isn't a traditional historical fantasy, there may be fantasy lovers bored by the historical aspects of the tale, and history lovers turned off by the fanta ...more
Eustacia Tan
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I see this book in the used book store.

I buy it and bring it back to Japan.

One fine day, when I have a few minutes to spare, I think "I guess I can fit one or two chapters in. I haven't read this in too long." Then....


Before I knew it, I was pushing back the estimated time I need to leave the house just so I could read more. I actually know the story, but still, it sucked me in (again).

I, Coriander is about, obviously, Coriander's life. I remembered this book as being vaguely related to fair
“The world we live in is nothing more than a mirror that reflects another world below its silvery surface, a land where time is but a small and unimportant thing, stripped of all its power.”
After 8 years, this is still one of my most favorite (children) books.
This is an enchanting story. Everything on the page straddles the line between reality and the supernatural, and thus unfolds historical mystery told like a dark fairy tale blended with magical realism.
Sally Gardner sets the tale along th
Jennifer (JC-S)
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘This is my story, this is my life.’

Over seven parts, each measured by the time it takes a candle to burn out, Coriander Hobie writes the story of her life:

‘I was born in the year of Our Lord 1643, the only child of Thomas and Eleanor Hobie, in our great house on the River Thames in London. Of my early years I remember only happiness. That was before I knew this world had such evil in it, and that my fate was to be locked up in a chest and left to die.’

Coriander’s idyllic childhood ends when he
Miss Clark
Oct 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Fairytales and Sally Gardner
I enjoyed the fairytale aspects of this book and I really wanted to give it three stars, both for a unique writing style and the artful inclusion of the history of the period, which I thought was done very well. I especially liked how Gardner presented such a wide range of poltical and religious viewpoints, but allowed the individuals that held them, like Ned or even Coriander, who is literally of another world, to all be able to show true tolerance for the other person and respect their belief, ...more
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A delightful tale set during the English Civil War (17th century), mixing fantasy with historical fiction as Coriander tells her story. There is adventure, a quest, magic, heartbreak, love, and danger, all from unexpected directions and with unexpected results. Fans of Robin McKinley should enjoy this one!
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Susann by: Regina lent it to me.
I loved the setting of the house on the Thames and I enjoyed the Cromwell and Restoration history. But the actual story didn't work for me. Gardner crammed so much in that she ended up with cliched characters and weak motivations. The evil Maud and Arise seemed particularly one-dimensional. ...more
Whitney Collins
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every so often, I get a hankering for a good young adult novel. This one scratched that itch, and definitely took me back to my childhood. It is a beautiful fairy tale, reminiscent of Ella Enchanted (my all time favorite book as a child). The prose has a beautiful, ethereal quality, and I think it could be a enjoyable read for adults and young-adults alike.

No matter what your age, every so often, we need to escape the mundane of our ordinary lives and add in a little magic. This book does the t
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Sally Gardner grew up and still lives in London. Being dyslexic, she did not learn to read or write until she was fourteen and had been thrown out of several schools, labeled unteachable, and sent to a school for maladjusted children. Despite this, she gained a degree with highest honors at a leading London art college, followed by a scholarship to a theater school, and then went on to become a ve ...more

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