Smarty pants kids. Is it just me, or do the five children become more and more smart as the series progressed. They were certainly never of average intelligence at any point in the first book, or the second, but by the third, they are quoting poetry from memory like some sort of bard savant. I think one of the things I secretly like about these books is a desperate wish to have wanted to grow up surrounded by Teds, Lauras, Patricks, Ruths and Ellens - and having just about as far away as possible from that existence as is possible. I'm not sure these kinds of kids even really exist - I've certainly never met any. But the dream of being reborn in the next life, surrounded by people who quote Shakespeare and mean it; but for now a raisin in the sun.
The Whim of the Dragon by Pamela Dean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
How I could both be incredibly and continually and mind-bogglingly stumped after reading these three books, without a clue as to what the hell is going on most of the time, and still be head over heels in love with The Secret Country? I read the first book, several times since I purchased it in the 1980s golden age of fantasy paperbacks, always coming away from it with a sense of sweet strong-writing-induced oblivion; I read the second book, and remain in awe and anger at how beautiful and puzzling the prose could be; And then The Hidden Land is just an extension of this life that loveliness has to sell (I can quote poetry too, Sara Teasdale, although not well, I had to look it up and was going to quote it backwards, and it's even more inconceivable and strange, and I'm still eating it up with a spoon. I imagine in ten years or so from now, Ms. Dean will take me on this adventure again. This trilogy is like a medieval mizmaze for fantasy lovers. The mizmaze was a prayer labyrinth (google it); Pamela Dean's work are a sort of literary prayer labyrinth, forcing the reader to contemplate the beauty and complexity of storytelling and writing.
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