Sunday, September 6, 2015

Review: The Westmark Trilogy by Lloyd Alexander

Synopsis: Set in the fictional kingdom of Westmark, the triology follows Theo, a printer's boy and Mickle, a beggar girl, as they become central figures in the upheavel and revolution of their country. Told over three books.
Book One: When Theo agrees to print a traveling showman's pamphlet, he only thinks of the money it will bring in. Instead, it sets off a chain reaction that results in the smashing of the press and the murder of his master. Caught on the wrong side of the law, Theo must flee the city. Soon, he has teamed up with the traveling showman Count Las Bombas (who is actually a con artist) and his servant. The trio is soon joined by Mickle, a clever, strong-willed girl with a mysterious past. Performing feats that astound and amaze, the motley crew falls into a trap set by Chief Minister Cabbarus, who is determined to wrest power from the grief-stricken king. Now they must not only save themselves-they must save the kingdom...
Book Two:  Theo is traveling Westmark, learning about the country of which he will soon be Prince Consort. He is not surprised to find great poverty-Mickle (now known as Princess Augusta) could have told him that from her years on the street. His friend Florian could have told him about the aristocracy's graft and corruption. But neither could have foreseen a loaded pistol in the practiced hand of the assassin Skeit. The echoes of that shot ring from the muskets and cannons of a Westmark suddenly at war-a war that turns simple, honest men into cold-blooded killers, Mickle into a military commander, and Theo himself into a stranger. . . .

Book Three: Mickle, once a common street urchin, is now the queen of Westmark. The kingdom is thriving-yet, at the same time, it is strangely restless. Ghosts of the past lurk everywhere. And the evil minister Cabbarus, banished from Westmark, is plotting to seize the throne. Theo remembers a time when he was the famed Kestrel, fighting battles that threatened to kill his soul. Now he once again must join in the struggle. Who will at last command the fate of Westmark?

Review: While written in three books, this is really one story. The story to a country's rebellions and the people on both sides who sacrificed for their beliefs. It's a dark tale. The course of events have many similarities to the French Revolution, and people die - most of the main characters, actually. The author doesn't shy away from the horrors of war, the choices people are forced to make, that not all rebellions are clean and clear, the both sides might be right, that people often choose power and safety over honor and truth, that some sacrifice and some do not. It's a powerful story, one worth reading. But I caution the reader - it's not a happy tale. It doesn't end happy, or how you want it to. It ends how it should, though. It ends real.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-440-99737-3 / 0-440-94393-0 / 0-440-90548-6
Date Finished: 8-27-2015 / 8-29-2015 / 8-30-2015
Pages: 190 / 244 / 237

No comments:

Post a Comment