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Rec: The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemmingway

 


"At last she said: 'I can help you, I know I can, I will. But it is a big task for a small person. Do children in your world usually perform such tasks?'

Nathan thought of all the books he had ever read, of the Pevensies, Colin and Susan, Harry Potter, Lyra Belacqua, and a hundred others. 'All the time,' he said." -- The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway
This is the first of the Sangreal Trilogy. The thing is, I started reading it and then Demon's Lexicon came out and since I'd been waiting for months for that one, my excitement got the better of me and I started that before finishing this.

But.

I kept thinking about The Greenstone Grail. And Nathan. And kept comparing the storytelling styles. And after a chapter or two, I gave in and returned to Amanda Hemingway's book, which is just so fresh and darn interesting. I love the way the story develops and how its writen.

The lines quoted above were rather unexpected and reading them made me laugh out loud in glee, especially to see Lyra from His Dark Materials listed alongside Harry Potter. I googled Susan and Colin and traced the characters back to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen which I'll probably end up trying sometime now. Oh, and there's also a mention of Star Wars at one point XD

It was the above references that made me realise that on some level, I'd already put Nathan - the main character of The Sangreal Trilogy - in the same box as the Pevensies and Harry and Lyra. They were protagonists of similar mettle in a way.

Not only is Hemingway's writing super easy to keep reading, but its got a great, great way of showing rather than telling, even for the simplest of things.

On some level you're making realisations about scenes and understanding the characters and their psyches, without being told point blank like so many Young Adult Fantasy novels tend to do these days. So while teens most likely find it easy to read, the wealth of information that's left unsaid makes it enjoyable for older readers too and means that there are certain nuances left to be discovered when re-reading the book.

While the editorial review on the Amazon page does draw similarities to Rowling, Gaiman and Lemony Snicket, attention is also drawn to the development of a strong female character, which sets Hemingway's novel apart. Nathan's mother, Annie, holds her own in that regard and seeing the mother-son relationship and their thoughts juxtapositioned in a particular scene is great. 

Then there's Bartlemy - Nathan's uncle of sorts - whose cooking made me run to the kitchen to make soup. And Hoover, who is one seriously cool dog. Seeing the relationship between dog and boy right from the start made me all warm inside :) And as interesting as the characters are, the plot is just as gripping, with a unique blend of fantasy a bit pf science fiction and adventure and mystery and just, well, great story telling.

Still need to get my hands on the second book but I just wanted to rec this out to anyone who might be interested in reading something new :3

You can read the blurb and preview most of the pages of the novel over here on google itself. For me personally, its definitely a keeper :D
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WOW...thank you for this awesome post!

On some level you're making realisations about scenes and understanding the characters and their psyches, without being told point blank like so many Young Adult Fantasy novels tend to do these days. So while teens most likely find it easy to read, the wealth of information that's left unsaid makes it enjoyable for older readers too and means that there are certain nuances left to be discovered when re-reading the book.

I absolutely agree with you here. A lot of the genius in these types of writings are subtly buried between the lines, and many times those are the best parts of the book!
Yeah, what's left unsaid but left to decipher between the lines makes the whole story richer ♥ And I don't think how effective it could be for fantasy world building and narrative in general. It avoids huge amounts of technical jargon but at the same time you know that what's being described is a hologram or magical!radiation and without saying it point blank, it feels so much more real in a way too *happy sigh*
I read her Witch Queen series and fruitlessly searched for more for years. Good thing I just stumbled across your journal. Now I know all her other works just under a different name :)

Thanks <3