October 19th, 2007

forgot to sleep by amaralen

book rec

I have just read the most amazing book: Enchantress from the Stars, by Sylvia Engdahl. It starts off with a small research team looking at a planet whose civilisation is still medieval, and is told from the point of view of the girl who sneaked onto the ship. But then it switches to the point of view of a villager from that world, and all of his sections are told in the style of a million fairy tales that you read decades ago: he's the fourth son of a woodcutter, and in the woods there's a dread dragon that many have sought to defeat. This dragon is actually the backhoe of yet another empire-- one that doesn't have any qualms about plunking down right in another peoples' backyard. And there are occasional sections from the point of view of one of the somewhat-unwilling lackeys of this empire, which are told in yet another voice. One of the goals of the first group is to get this other empire off of the planet, so that its indigenous population can continue to develop naturally. And they pose as magicians to aid the woodcutter's sons on their quest. You could almost read the quest sections in the first half of the book on their own, like a fairy tale. But soon they become so intermingled that you can't imagine them beeing told any other way than as they are.

I started reading this book at 4 in the morning, hoping to only read 20 or 30 pages before I started in on Latin homework; it's now 9 in the morning, and I have finished the book happier than almost any other book I have finished in recent memory. Go read it: it's that good.