One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

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Darkness has fallen over the realm of Birddom as the evil magpies hunt countless species of birds into extinction. And only the courage of one lone Robin can save Birddom from certain doom.

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Darkness has fallen over the realm of Birddom as the evil magpies hunt countless species of birds into extinction. And only the courage of one lone Robin can save Birddom from certain doom.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The back-story to Clive Woodall's sensational debut novel is nothing short of a real-life fairy tale: A grocery store produce manager writes a bedtime story for his two sons; it gets published internationally and is optioned by Disney in a million-dollar movie deal! The book -- which has been compared to Richard Adams's Watership Down and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy -- is an allegorical saga about one heroic robin's quest to save "Birddom" from a gang of power-hungry magpies bent on wiping out all other birds.

After witnessing the murder of his mate at the talons of a band of magpies, Kirrick -- the last robin left in all of Birddom -- desperately flies to Tanglewood to ask Tomar, a wise old owl, for help. Realizing that something must be done before the magpies kill off more species and upset nature's precarious balance forever, Tomar sends Kirrick on three dangerous quests to try to win the support of the falcons, the eagles, and the seabirds. Constantly hunted by the magpies, Kirrick must rely on his wits and the help of some unlikely friends to survive. But even with the support of the majestic birds of prey, can the forces of good stand up against an evil that will do anything to see every other bird destroyed?

While the novel may be deemed inappropriate by some parents of elementary-school-age children (there are a few brutally violent scenes, as well as a reference to a rape), there is no doubt that Woodall's wondrous novel will be remembered decades from now as a cherished tale filled with beloved characters and invaluable life lessons -- especially if Disney comes out with a big-budget animated motion picture. Prediction: One for Sorrow, Two for Joy will be the first book in a lengthy series, à la Brian Jacques's Redwall Abbey saga. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
At the start of "One for Sorrow," the opening half of British author Woodall's savage first novel, Birddom's very existence is threatened. Magpies, under the dictatorship of the treacherous Slyekin, have ruthlessly wiped out many bird species. A wise old owl, Tomar, asks plucky young Kirrick-evidently the sole robin to survive the holocaust-to undertake three dangerous journeys in order to enlist the aid of feathered allies. Kirrick proves that one brave little bird can make a big difference against "planned systematic genocide." The second section, "Two for Joy," allows Kirrick's mate, Portia, to prove her mettle. Contrary to the hype in the U.K. press, this avian fantasy lacks the depth of that modern animal classic, Watership Down. Nor, with its scenes of defecation, disembowelment and magpie rape, does it have much in common with The Lord of the Rings. Even the good birds execute summarily and employ mass murder. Still, given the compelling plot of "One for Sorrow" in particular, one can understand why Disney has optioned the novel "in a million-dollar deal." It should make a wonderful Disney feature-length cartoon, suitably sanitized. Agent, William Clarke. (Jan. 4) Forecast: Despite the book's billing as "written by a father to entertain his sons," adult readers may find the story too simplistic while younger readers may be troubled by the high violence level. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A malignant evil is creeping across the land of Birddom. The time for birdsong has passed and survival depends on silence. A dark covenant of magpies, led by a sadistic dictator called Slyekin, plots the demise of lesser birds and the revered Council of Owls. The last of his species, a lone robin named Kirrick is driven by revenge to undermine their total domination. Trying to flee an unrelenting chase, the tiny bird struggles to survive an onslaught of murdering magpies, led by Slyekin's top henchman, Traska. An unyielding foe, Traska haunts Kirrick's every move as the small bird tries to rally others to aid in the fight. But Kirrick is not alone in his quest to save Birddom. Tomar, an elder owl from the Council hopes to foil Slyekin's master plan, but he hasn't heard from Kirrick since the beginning of the attack. Has the little bird accomplished his mission or was it just folly to send such a small creature up against such brutality? A war erupts and another deadly leader emerges. This time a son steps up to take down his father. The division of good verses evil aligns unlikely allies between species and forges some unusual packs. Although evil and hatred run deep, love and goodness simmer below the surface. Heart felt scenes and deep emotions guarantee the reader will feel the intensity of the hunt; understand how deep the evil and the extent to which it can flourish. The violence and some adult scenes are not recommended for younger children, but teens to adult will turn page after page to see how the saga unfolds. 2005, Ace Books, Ages 12 up.
—Robyn Gioia
Library Journal
The land of Birddom lies in the grip of the foul magpies and their crow cousins, who launch a reign of terror that causes the deaths of many avians. When a small robin named Kirrick decides to take a stand, he undertakes a journey to rally other birds to the cause of life and freedom, from the great eagles to the wise owls and even winning the help of unlikely allies. In the tradition of Richard Adams's Watership Down and Tad Williams's Tailchaser's Song, Woodall's epic tale of great deeds and small creatures offers a bird's-eye view of courage and sacrifice. For most fantasy collections. [First published in Britain, this debut fantasy has been optioned for film adaptation by Disney.-Ed.] Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Already optioned by Disney, this British bestseller by first-time author (and ex-grocer) Woodall describes an avian civil war, with the crows and magpies trying to exterminate every other species. Although the comparisons to Watership Down are inevitable, this is a highly original animal fantasy that, options notwithstanding, sounds much less like a Disney cartoon than one might expect. Set amid the fens and woodlands of the winged realm of Birddom, it envisions a dystopian world where the loathsome magpies (carrion birds who have overpopulated and grown fat from their rich diet of highway roadkill) have made common cause with the equally parasitical crows to kill off all rival bird-life and set themselves up as the unchallenged dictators of the sky. Their leader is the cruel and perverted Slyekin, who (with his bloodthirsty lieutenant Traska) strikes terror into even the blackest hearts of his fellow magpies. Ruthlessly killing all smaller species they encounter, the magpies initially make good headway on their genocidal dreams, even to the point of killing Kirrick, the last robin known in Birddom. Or so they think. For the noble Kirrick has actually eluded Slyekin's assassins and has made his way to the Great Owl Tomar, a survivor of the once-mighty Council of Owls. Old, weary and wise, Tomar encourages Kirrick to reconvene the long-since scattered Council as a means of fighting off the assault of the magpies, and Kirrick sets out secretly to rouse birds to fight for their survival. Along the way, he is helped by Portia, another robin who has managed to save herself from the magpies, and the two scheme their way through the talons of the magpies with all the wile of Ulysses. Despite theNew Age idioms, Woodall keeps his story light and its pace quick, suggesting parallels between animal warfare and the human world but never overwhelming us with message. Film rights optioned by Disney. Agent: William Clark, on behalf of Ed Victor/Ed Victor Ltd.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845052102
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 2/14/2005
  • Series: The Wicked Lovely Series
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Clive Woodall lives in a village in rural Cambridgeshire with his wife and two sons (for whom this story was originally written) and a garden full of birds. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

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( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2011

    Worth the read!

    Love the idea for the story, and the writing is exciting and vivid. However, the story starts after several exciting things have already happened. It made me feel like I was reading the second book in a series. the pace is a little rushed, also. Still, I would have rated it 5 stars if the protaganist was a young bird instead of the equivlent of a middle-aged man.

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  • Posted October 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An absolutely fantastic read! Fans of Richard Adams and animal lovers will certainly rejoice in this beloved tail!

    Beautifully crafted and breathtakingly descriptive, this novel follows the story of Kirrick, supposedly the last robin in his lands, as he, with the aid of an acumen old owl, attempts to band together the remaining perching bird species, and overthrow the corrupted magpie and his followers who threaten their very existence. A memorable piece, both in its storyline and in its spectacular descriptions, animal lovers certainly won't be disappointed, especially fans of Richard Adam's Watership Down or Garth Stein's the Art of Racing in the Rain! Great for any adult reader who wishes to read from the point of view of animals, without the usual childishness that such a desire normally entails. I advise this novel for older readers, rather than younger, due to some elements in the story that wouldn't be suitable for children. Nevertheless, an awesome read! Highly recommended, you must give this book a try!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2008

    A pretty good book . . .

    This was one of those books to get engrossed in when having really nothing else to read. It was pretty good, I must say, though it was pretty fast-paced with little fill-in imformation, thought pretty understandable. This book, though, does contain an incident of rape, though not a discriptive happening, still not to be read by children not yet being filled in upon the imormation of the birds and the bees. The author was not the best at research, mostly in that 'oopsie' when he explained that robins were not migratory birds. He did good research in some cases, but not in others. I would not trust this book for imformation about birds, that is for sure! An okay book, though, a entertaining read, though a tad bit fast paced, as said before in this review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    Trouble In Birddom

    Slyekin, leader of the magpies, is bent on dominating all of Birddom. He¿s ordered his followers to kill off all the small bird species throughout the land. Kirrick is the last of the robins and has eluded the nasty magpies for sometime. Slyekin will not be deterred and sends out his second in command, Traska, to murder Kirrick. The little robin seeks out the wise old owl named Tomar to see what can be done about the genocide the magpies have unleashed. Kirrick¿s quest puts him on a wild race against time and the ever pursuing magpy murder Traska. Although some have remarked that this novel is similar to Watership Down, it most certainly isn¿t. There¿s too much gore, torture, and rape in this book to be considered worth reading to children. Some adults may find it offensive. A promising storyline could have been salvaged if the author had truly taken into account what ¿children¿ read. In the light of the times, children may be exposed to more than this book depicts. If you must read this book - bewarned - it does not bode well for those who really love animals or stories about animals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2005

    Poor writing, purloined material

    First let me say that no matter what the auther says, this is not a book for children. Containing rape, murder, torture and mutilation the subject matter is adult at best. Secondly, there is nothing really unique about this book. It is simply a borowing of many other authors works. Thirdly, the writing is atrocious. I imagine the author must have a brother-in-law at the publishers, otherwise I don't know why they would have published this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005


    One for Sorrow Two for Joy is a story of the last of the robins working to save all Birddom from certain death. Kirrick the robin, under the guidance from the wise owl Tamar, undertakes a seemingly impossible task of uniting surviving bird species against the malicious magpies and crows. The book is full of cliches and repetitions. The main characters lack depth and personality. The reader is spoon-fed with each bird's history without letting them speak for themselves through their actions, thoughts and words. There is absolutely no suspense and the ending simply cannot be any more obvious. There's too much violence. I cannot believe Disney picked up this book for a future movie. It is empty, patronizing, violent and unimaginative. Stay away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2005

    Oh Yeah!

    I loved this book! I love birds, and this book made me love them even more! I think Kirrick is an Outstanding bird and this book is made for Lord of the Rings lovers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2005

    Lacked Depth

    One for Sorrow, Two for Joy was a decent book, but nothing I¿ll reread. The plot was nice, but there wasn¿t much depth to the characters or the storyline, and the story moved too fast for it to be a rich, detailed epic like Watership Down (which One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is compared to) or Lord of the Rings. I also thought that the author attributed too many human characteristics and actions to birds such as kissing, sexual assault, and lust, etc. It wasn¿t as believable as Watership Down because the animals reacted in ways that humans would, not as animals would. Still, there was some nice suspense and action in the book. I would suggest it if you¿re looking for an easy read about an obvious hero.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2005

    Not Worth Reading

    I borrowed this book from the library hoping for a rousing advebture story similar to Watership Down. I was horribly disappointed. While the basic premise is good, I found the characters to be archetypes without much personality and there was way too much gory detail about torture and rape for me to ever feel comfortable reading this to my children. I cannot believe this would ever be made into a movie, and it most certainly cannot hold a candle to Watership Down. If you're looking for something similar to that great work, I recommend Tailchaser's Song by tad Williams, Fire Bringer by Clement Davies, and the Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West by Mary Stanton.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A cross between Watership Down with Jonathan Livingston Seagull

    Kirrick the last of the robins saw his whole species, including his mate die at the hands of the magpies. The leader of the magpies, Slyekin, ordered his followers to kill all the small species of birds and he sent his second in command Traska to murder Kirrick. The little robin asks the wise owl Tomar what to do about the genocide being practiced on the small avians; the wise owl has a plan to stop the magpies from killing their little brethren.--- Kirrick is sent to Darreal, the leader of the Falcons, Storne of the Eagles and Kraken of the Seabirds to gather their brethren to help them fight the magpie. During his journey, Traska, Kirric¿s second-in-command enlists the aids of the magpies to help him find Kirrick but along the way the robin finds allies who help him out with the evil, sadistic magpie. After the war is over in Birddom, a new one breaks out in Wingland with Traska and his new allies trying to take Slyekin¿s place as leader of the magpies who must fight his son brought up to hate him.--- Cross Watership Down with Jonathan Livingston Seagull and readers will have some idea what the allegorical ONE FOR SORROW TWO FOR JOY is like. For such a little bird Kirrick has a big heart because he risks his life several times to find allies for his cause. With just one book, Clive Woodall established himself as a budding superstar telling a symbolic morality tale of courage.--- Harriet Klausner

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