2008: 62. Ysabel

“The woods came to the edge of the property: to the gravel of the drive, the electronic gate, and the green twisted-wire fence that kept out the boars.”

Ysabel, Guy Gavriel Kay

Ok, this was a great read.  Even though it’s marketed as a young adult book, it could just as easily be read by adults who like modern, credible non-cheesy fantasy (your Gaiman fans, say).  It made me want to read more Guy Gavriel Kay (which my library seemed to have absolutely none of, so I guess a trip to Barnes & Noble is in my future).  

The novel tells the story of Ned, a 15 year old Canadian who is spending the spring in Provence with his father, a world class photographer who is working on a book while his mother is spending time with Doctors Without Borders in the Sudan.  While Ned is worrying about his mother, and not doing his assigned homework, he wanders into the cathedral where he meets an American exchange student named Kate, and a stranger who drags them into a story much bigger than both of them.  

I loved the book not just because of the plot, which is pretty good, but because of the characters.  Ned seems like a real person, not just a YA character - he acts in ways that are real and sensible, as well as believable for a young man his age.  For example, I loved that he had the good sense to get the adults involved, and not run around like an idiot trying to do everything himself.  And that his getting involved with this whole mess largely arose out of his anger at his mother for leaving them and putting herself at risk, and how he used that to bring her home - because she was needed in the crisis, but also (selfishly) because he wanted her safe.  That is such a human reaction,  and made Ned seem like person, not some fantasy hero trope.  Definitely work the read.  


Date/Place Completed: 4/29/08, D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, Young Adult, Library

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017