Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: Song of the Sparrow, by Lisa Ann Sandell

Song of the Sparrow is a retelling of the story of the Lady of Shalott. It's unique and beautiful because it is told in verse.

Elaine, the Lady of Shalott, lived in an army encampment with her father and two brothers. They are constantly battling the Saxons, who are trying to invade Britain. They are fighting with Arthur (soon to be king), Lancelot, Gawain, and many other familiar characters. Tristan appears, and we are given a short summary of his story with Isolde.

Elaine's mother was killed when she was very young, so she has had a unique upbringing, not so much ladylike as "tom boy," given that her playmates have been from Arthur's round table.

Sandell's story flows beautifully. Elaine is in love with Lancelot, but he looks at her as if she's a child. When he returns to camp with Gwynivere, she is crushed because it is obvious that Lancelot is enchanted with Gwynivere, who is to be married to Arthur.

The excitement begins when Arthur decides to go on a five-day ride to meet and defeat the Saxons once an for all. Elaine decides to follow, by herself, this army, since she can help heal them if they are wounded. The trip turns out to be much harder than Elaine expects--she is woefully unprepared. Then, she is all at once in much grave danger. Her rescuer is unexpected--and that's all I'll say, except there is a satisfying and romantic ending.

If you have shied away from verse novels, Song of the Sparrow would be a good place to start. Its easy to read and a somewhat familiar story. This one should be added to your repertoire of books about King Arthur and is highly recommended to fans of those stories.

Published by Scholastic, 2007
Copy obtained from the library upon recommendation from Justin
 416 pages (qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

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  1. I loved Tennyson's poem, The Lady of Shallott, which is actually one of the few things that I liked about from the King Arthur literature. I kinda liked there was a melancholic tone to the original poem, but I'm curious about the happy ending and the mysterious rescuer. I'll have to pick this one up. Thanks!

  2. Oh I've heard that this is a good verse novel, and it definitely sounds like interesting. Glad you really liked it!


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