Sunday, October 19, 2008

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

Since the days of King Arthur, there have been paintings and poems created in her name. She is Elaine of Ascolat - the Lady of Shalott. And now, there is  a new story, a new vision, of this mysterious and captivating girl...
Beautiful sixteen-year-old Elaine has a temperament as fiery as her long red hair. The daughter of a soldier in young Arthur's army, Elaine is the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Often slipping into daydreams, she wishes that the handsome Lancelot would see her as more than a tomboy.
Then a new girl arrives, and Elaine is thrilled - until Gwynivere proves to be cold and cruel. But when Elaine and Gwynivere are thrown into a situation of gravest danger, the girls must band together in order to survive. Can Elaine find the strength to fight for the kingdom she has always believed in?
(Summary from the jacket flap)

The only other books based around the mythical Arthurian period that I've read are Avalon High by Meg Cabot and the Lost Years of Merlin epic by T.A. Barron. I enjoyed them immensely so I was expecting an amount of quality from Song of the Sparrow. Also, the fact that it's written in verse, I thought would add some nice resonance and mystery to the tone of the book. And while it started out slow, towards the middle of the book I was sucked in and became fully engrossed in Elaine's story. While the last half was quite good, I have to say that the first segment of the book dragged and didn't leave me satisfied. The writing was good as was the imagery and the character development, there just wasn't enough going on. The last part of the book is what made me really love this book. The author picks the book up out of the ditch and adds some action, suspense, and romance, which is what kept me reading and savoring every word. That and the fact that Elaine was a wonderful main character. While her trivial thoughts about Lancelot got a tinch annoying after a while, she grew throughout the book into a strong young woman with a true voice of her own. I'm so glad that this was told from her point of view because it showed that even in a time in which women were commonly stifled and used (take Gwynivere, for example), she was strong and opinionated and loved because of it, not in spite of it. Reading about girls who know who they are is so much fun. You just get sucked into the story with them; which is what happened with me and Song of the Sparrow. I would highly recommend this book. The poetic aspect of it lends a mysterious and addicting air to the book. It's only the second novel in verse that I read, and I'm loving that genre so far. Although the first portion of the book might have you yawning, stick it out and you'll get to the rewarding meat of the story which you'll eat up, I promise. :) 


  1. I'll have to write a note to myself for when I get a copy of this book. "don't quit after the first part" :-) Thanks for the recommendation! It's always good to know that the book gets better.

  2. This book sounds really good. I really loved Avalon High so I'll have to pick this one up and not quit after the first part. Great Review!

  3. Oooh, I would love to read this! I've been rather obsessed with the Arthurian legends and particularly The Lady of Shalott since I was a teen! Thanks for the review. :-)

  4. This sounds good. I loved Avalon High, so I'm going to check this out. Hopefully the library has it! :)

  5. I've wanted to read this since it first came out. I really should try harder to get a copy. :P

  6. I was going to start The Lost Years of Merlin soon :)

    I'm not too sure about this book, seeing as I'm not a fan of novels written in verse. I'm sure it has a great story -it sounds like it!- but i'll have to see if my library has it and then decide if i want to read it.

  7. i have read this book in one and a half weeks and i have reread it. i love this book alot and i am using it for my ir project. i love to read things about king Athur and the knights of the round table and im pleased to have had the book fair at my school. being in 7th its hard to find a good book. =)


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