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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Singing - Alison Croggon

Read for the 2010 YA Reading Challenge.

I’ve come to the end of another series that I’ve very much enjoyed. I’d been both anticipating and dreading finally reading the The Singing – it’s nice to see a story to a satisfying conclusion, but also sad that there are no new tales to look forward to.

This fourth book finds Maerad and her brother Hem journeying to find each other so that they can complete the Treesong, and free the land from the dark threat of the Nameless One. Neither knows where the other is, only that they must journey through perilous lands filled with the Dark Army to find each other. As the journey progresses, Maerad is filling more and more with the power of the Elementals, power that is necessary to defeat the Nameless One, but power that frightens Hem and their other companions.

I’ve enjoyed the progression of this story: the land of Edil-Amarandh is richly drawn, and both the beauty and horror of the places that Maerad and Hem visit draw you in to the story. The characters are also well done, and though Maerad is an imperfect heroine, she never comes across as irritatingly imperfect. I also enjoy the conceit that this is a translation of a real scroll of a lost civilization that existed somewhere here on Earth long before any of our current civilizations. It allows some delightful framing in the introductions and appendices of all the books, and this one is no exception.

This was the most recent series I’d come across that I eagerly anticipated the next chapter, and read as quickly as possible as soon as I laid my hands on the next volume (I dropped the other book I was reading the second this one came into my possession. I do have priorities.) Heck, I even own all but the first volume (which I’d taken out of the library), and with my current book buying habits, that is a ringing endorsement indeed. I’ll probably have to go find a copy of the first volume soon, because this is one of those series I’ll probably take to pushing on friends looking for something a little new and different in their reading.

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