Book: Here Lies Arthur


 

This is an example of a good book. Definitely a book geared towards girls, but a book that will keep its reader enthralled. It speaks about the legends of Arthur, or to put it more accurately it gives us a picture of how the Arthurian legends came about. I’m not very familiar with the stories concerning Arthur, sure I know of his knights of the round table and of Merlin and such, but I wouldn’t consider my knowledge of the subject to be very in-depth. Still the book doesn’t expect you to know much about the legends surrounding Arthur. Instead it weaves a magical story about who this Arthur was and how he became what he is remembered as now.

Here lies Arthur won the Carnegie Medal in Literature, which speaks volumes about the quality of the book. Taking into account that it is a book for children, I still enjoyed it immensely. Although the main character is a child, most of the characters are actually adults and what makes this book special to me, is how the adult world is portrayed by a child. Add to the magic of having the girl turn into a boy and then into a girl again makes it enchanting.

Puberty is something that not all books will delve into. But the way the changes in body and in emotions were brought to light in the book was really well done. It really is something special, watching Gwyna grow up. The life she lives is exciting and filled with adventure, but it is the change that is wrought within her that makes the story stand out. She is a wonderful character to follow. The book is very character-centric. I think that it was really Gwyna’s development that pushed the story forward. At the same time the story follows Arthur, it shows us his life and how simple events were turned into tales of wonder.

The book is amazing and I think that it could have been longer. There was so much more to explore and could be expanded upon. But we have to remember that it is a children’s book and a really good one at that. I recommend this wholeheartedly. It is for those who love the Arthurian legend as well as for those who know nothing about him. It’s a story that will capture imaginations, yet also get the reader thinking. It’s greatest downfall perhaps is that boys won’t appreciate the book. As with most of Philip Reeve’s books this is a book that will inspire girls more than boys. For those who have already read the book, I think you can understand when I say that there was no way the story could be changed to suit boys as well. It’s still a wonderful read, but perhaps I felt that way because I’m of the fairer sex. What do you say? Can a story about King Arthur really be geared towards girls?

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