Friday, May 25, 2007

In an effort to be more on top of things, instead of always worrying about my backlog of things that need to be reviewed, I'm going to try and get books reviewed as I read them and THEN worry about the backlog. If that makes sense.

So, here's the book I just finished reading last night.

The Last Dragon by Silvana de Mari, translated from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside

Yorshkrunsquarkljolnerstri is the last elf. All the others had been sent to elf-camps, where they starved and froze to death. When the rains came, the remaining elves drowned in the floods. Yorsh's grandmother told him to go. Go, and don't look back.

Navigating a world that hates elves, Yorsh meets two human travelers who protect him, even though it brings them nothing but trouble. While escaping from jail, Yorsh sees a prophesy on a wall and knows it is about him.

Sarja and Monser (the humans) leave Yorsh to care for a dying dragon.

Years later, he and his dragon brother go to fulfill the prophesy...

There's more to it than that, but there is a huge gap in time between the first and second halves of this book and to fully explain the last bit, I'd have to completely ruin the first bit, and we don't want that, do we?

This is the type of story that sounds mundane and hackneyed. Elves. Dragons. Prophesy. Evil Kingdoms. Yawn. But in the hands of de Mari, this is a new, original tale that captivates you. There is a rhythm and lyricism to the prose that is hard to capture in just a single quotation. Yorsh is a wonderful character and even though the book is titled The Last Dragon, it is really Yorsh's tale.

This was a Batchelder honor book this year. The Batchelder is the prize ALA gives for translated works, but for some reason, instead of going to the author or translator, it goes to the publisher. What's up with that?!

This book also made the Cybil's short list!

Other Blog Reviews: Oz and Ends, Rebecca Hogue Wojahn, Becky's Book Reviews, Fairrosa's Reading Journal

Not all the blog reviews are positive. Also, there's a movie with the same name, so it was hard to wade through. I'm sorry if I ever miss anyone...


Erin said...

I really loved this book!

Jennie said...

Me too! I was really surprised by it!

Unknown said...

I have no opinions on this book, I'm leaving a comment because I'm a teacher too and I wonder if you only ever blog about books and I wonder what you might think of all my school stories on my blog!