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A 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
"I loved this novel. I cried through the whole last chapter from the sheer beauty of these characters and their world." -Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road, Printz Medal winner
Posted April 6, 2011
Cam Attling left his hometown of Kayforl to fight in the war. Just a boy when he joined, Cam lost an arm but is the only person from Kayforl to survive the combat. He knows his fortune occurred because Lord Gyaar, son to the winning side's ruler, allowed him to live.
At home, he finds the townsfolk resent his surviving when other loved ones died. His family wants him to leave as they are embarrassed he came back alive while his engagement to Graceful Fenister ends ungracefully when she wants nothing to do with him. Cam leaves Kayforl for the second time in search of the Lord who spared him to learn why. On his quest for the truth he becomes friends with a boy and meets others like Diido who lost everything to the war.
This is an engaging novel that looks deeply at the impact of war on the returning vets and those in the home-front. The living must move on emotionally with what happened to their loved ones and yet must rebuild their devastated world in order to survive the ordeal. Although being an in depth character study including looking at villages like Kayforl limits the action and slows the pace deliberately as Christine Hinwood cleverly avoids dumbing down with her powerful tale that respects the middle school audience as intelligent caring readers.
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Posted February 8, 2015
Worst book I've ever read. None of the characters were likeable. Half the time it was near impossible to understand the content of their conversations due to the style the author wrote their speech in. The story jumped around constantly and had no direction; one chapter would focus on one character, then the next, a totally different one. Also, there was no way to track how long the time period of the story covered (I think it took place over about eight years, but it's impossible to know).
When I read the description for this, I thought it would tell the tale of a man coming home from war. Instead, it told the tale of too many other people who were unimportant to the story. Some characters were focused on heavily, then just dropped from the story completely. The fact that this book got an award is astounding. It's like those movies that win an Oscar that you never heard of; given by people with dry taste and only looking for the most unique, "artsy", against the norm book.
Save your time and money and skip this.
Posted July 16, 2013