Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: Song of the Sparrow

Author: Lisa Ann Sandell
Publish date: 2007
Source: Classroom library
"The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur's supporters, lives with her father on Arthur's base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine's only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur's older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur's second-in-command. However, when yet another girl -- the lovely Gwynivere-- joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire?" (Goodreads)

I'll be honest here: I had never heard of this book until I was unpacking it and putting on my bookshelves in my classroom. I looked it up on Goodreads and found that I'd actually marked another of Sandell's books for my TBR list, A Map of the Known World. Being a fan of verse novels AND historical fiction, I figured I'd give this one a try.

Basically this is a retelling of the story of Elaine, the Lady of Shalott, but told in verse. I don't really know much about the legend of King Arthur, really, other than what I've seen in a couple movies. I've been meaning to read The Mists of Avalon, but we all know how that goes, so I was pleased to grab this book from my class. It was an interesting story, especially the fact that Elaine was one of the few women living with her father, brothers, and other men at the camp.

Most of the time I liked the writing style, which was verse. It made the book seem much shorter, like Ellen Hopkins's novels, although sometimes I thought the line breaks were odd. I prefer Ellen's books with the shorter poems/stanzas. Song of the Sparrow had full chapters and some of the parts just seemed to go on and on.

I would tentatively recommend Song of the Sparrow if you like both historical fiction and verse novels. I enjoyed the opportunity to try another round at poetry and learn a bit more about the Arthurian legend.

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