Alysa of the Fields: Book One in the Tellings of Xunar-kunby Tina Field Howe
The Field Folk thought they and the savage Trailmen were the only people to inhabit their war-torn world. They were wrong. Folk girl Alysa risks all to unveil long-hidden truths, heal ancient hatreds, and save her people from peril.
- BookLocker.com, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 Years
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believe strongly in promoting local authors, and Tina Field Howe makes this easy. Tina is located in Corning, NY, and has a beautiful website showcasing her many talents as artist, illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and editor. She works with media as diverse as stained glass to screenplays. Most recently, I have had the pleasure of becoming absorbed in Tina's novel, 'Alysa of the Fields'. The first in a series, Alysa's story tells of life on Xunar-kun, a planet with many similarities to Earth, with a history that is a cautionary 'what-if' parallel to our own. Howe smoothly combines elements of science fiction, fantasy, anthropology, survival stories, spirituality, nature studies, and young adult fiction. I found 'Alysa of the Fields' to be a compelling, though not heavy-handed read, one that should be engaging for teens and adults alike. I like some science fiction and fantasy, but I tend to be picky. When I started out with 'Alysa of the Fields', I was a little leery, afraid that it would be one more science fiction story where the author indulges in creating a different planet with beings that have exotic fur or colors or brow ridges, but are otherwise humanoid. That's one thing I personally don't like about many sci-fi series on TV: I get bored with the 'planet- and new-alien-culture-of-the-week' approach. This, however, is exactly where Tina Howe triumphs. Her background in anthropology and her creative interest in people shine through in her descriptions of life among the Field-Folk and the Trailmen. Tina includes explanations of how people in these two separate tribes have adapted to daily life these 3,000 years 'A.C.' (After Cataclysm). Included are details about how they cook their food, what they eat, their style of dress, their matrimonial ceremonies, their division of labor, their pets, and so much more. None of this is boring, since it is well-incorporated into the storyline. I never felt I was reading description for descriptions' sake. Like any society, stories and skills, beliefs and traditions are taught, practiced, and passed on to insure the survival of Alysa's people, the Field-Folk. Besides twice-yearly meetings for trade, during which a form of sign language is used, the 'Folk' do not interact with the Trailmen, whom they believe to be a fierce, aggressive, dangerous people. But the Folk and the Trailmen are on the cusp of tremendous, far-reaching changes. Alysa, quite unintentionally at first, is the catalyst. Alysa is a likeable character, perhaps made all the more so by the fact that she is a somewhat unlikely heroine. She displays no unusual talents, has felt no calling to special work in her young life. She has been content to work in the fields, and keep house with her family. Alysa is genuine, caring, and loyal she is firmly dedicated to those she loves. Following her strength of heart has never caused her problems, until the sudden death of her father changes the plans made for her adult life. Having no knowledge of the events she will set in motion, or of the consequences for all the inhabitants of the planet, she begins to question the traditions of her people, their beliefs about the strange Trailmen, the history they have always taught. With these events, and with Alysa's actions, we the readers find many ways to connect with and learn from this book. Tina Howe has created a story that celebrates following your convictions and that encourages us to look at people who are different from us with respectful curiosity, openness, tolerance, and a desire to learn.