“It is your duty to save souls,” Mendoza said. “It is mine to save lives. Our lives.”
Excellent historical fiction for young adults. O’Dell drops the reader into the periphery of a well-known historical event—Coronado’s exploration of the American southwest during the sixteenth century—and spins an engaging
But as the two men left the camp and went up the trail with the bags and implements loaded on a mule, I said to myself, “I shall never in this life see them again.”
Published in 1966. Historical fiction of this quality is now rare. O’Dell recognizes issues present in his narrative, but doesn’t derail the story by sermonizing. Current offerings tend to emphasize message over history.
“Let your manner be courteous. Do not forget that when there is no honey in the jar, it is wise to have some in the mouth.”
“Are you sure of this?” “Well, of course I’m not sure. It’s magic.
Too easy. Ever wondered how a story about an ensemble of Mary Sues might go? Here it is. Nothing ever goes wrong, all the breaks go their way, their luck is beyond luck. Boring. Nothing wrong, just not engaging.
“You’re smarter than you look.” “If I wasn’t, I’d also be deader than I look.”
Presumably written for … fans. Others will find it tedious. Not Lackey’s best writing.
“I think I like your Record Keeper. It has all the good sense the Duke lacks.” “I heard that.” “You were meant to.”
“Sorry. I haven’t got the faintest idea what’s going on.” “I’ll tell you what’s going on. War.”
Immense, slow moving epic tale of first encounters and pending apocalypse. Inner voice of protagonist propels narrative in realist atmosphere of self-doubt and concern for others.
“So what would the Soft Blade do if you die?” “I … I’m not sure. I’d guess it would return to its dormant state, the way it was on Adrasteia. That or it would try to bond with someone else.” “Well, that’s not alarming in the slightest.”
Lost a star over gratuitous language. Okay, one character was salty, but once that’s established pouring on more profanity more detracts. Despite Paolini’s serious attempt at hard science fiction, many non sequiturs knock the serious reader out of the spell of the story.
“Nothing you can say is going to make this any better.” “Just listen; it’s another story.”
The ending is appropriate to the story, but not satisfying.
“I’d rather struggle and fail on my own than be coddled as a slave.” “So you do have principles.” “Careful now. Don’t tell anyone or you’ll give them a bad impression.”
‘Your greenness does you credit, I confess. I will be almost sad to see it clouded by experience. Nonetheless, you want to lose a little of that trust.’
By far McKay’s best Hew Cullen book yet. More complex plot combines with her signature deep character conflicts propels the story forward. Leavened with humor and affection.
‘Do you wish for the convolute answer, or the straight one?’ ‘Giles, you have never given a straight answer in your life.’
Unlike Books 1 and 3, Fate and Fortune highlights the prejudices and incivility of sixteenth-century Scotland. Hew’s rank and humanity are casually stripped away by officialdom and amateurs. His modern sensibilities crash into a stone wall of status quo.
‘Do not give way to bitterness. It is more vicious than the pox, and infectious to the core.’
McKay skillfully reveals the villains as Hew remains clueless. Good read.
‘He died,’ Hew whispered wretchedly, ‘and I did not know him.’ ‘And perhaps you never will,’ his friend allowed. ‘Yet we may judge a man as much by how he dies, as how he lives. And a good death, in part, is measured not by how we die, but by what we leave behind.’
Book Review: Hue & Cry: a Hew Cullen Mystery: Book 1 by Shirley McKay (three stars)
‘May I observe,’ Hew said pleasantly, ‘that if you mean to use that cudgel on my horse, then I shall have to wrap it round your neck. Which would prejudice our friendship, don’t you think?’
Intricate, engaging historical fiction. Readers are deeply immersed into sixteenth-century Scotland, without the impossible to decipher dialects which often plague such stories. Humor.
‘Remind me, Giles, why we are friends.’ ‘You for the sake of my wit, and I for the sake of your sister.’ ‘What?’
Everyone has their own agenda and, even when they’re trying to help one another, they are often at cross purposes. Pretty normal. Like at Bard, most of McKay’s action is off stage and described by witnesses.
Sadly, it is the way of our world that we perceive corruption in the purest heart, and see wickedness where it was never meant.’
Lame denouement. It’s only rationale is that it connects to an actual historical event. Still, it was a too convenient solution to Hew’s dilemma.
Stay awhile and show yourself. Else I must think you like the king who sweeps us up and sets us down like pieces on a board but does not really care how he disposes us.’