Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Moon Riders - Theresa Tomlinson

Been wanting to review this for a while. It's supposedly a book for *young adults*, in that the print is large-ish and there's no explicit sex. Other than that, I can't help thinking it was written for an audience far more mature than last year's movie Troy.
Is this historically accurate? I haven't a clue. It's fiction...whether it is based on reaonably reliable sources I cann't be sure; I'm not really an expert on this period of history. It is set in the years leading up to the Trojan War. The protagonist, Myrina, belongs to a nomadic tribe whose members are expert horse breeders and horse riders. At the age of fourteen she meets and befriends Cassandra of Troy when her father sells some horses to king Priam. Around the same time, she also joins the Moon Riders (the Amazons). Cassandra runs away with the Moon Riders, and so the Amazon women are dragged into the Trojan war.
Tomlinson doesn't give you much detail about the later stages of the war. Cassandra has a few uncomfortable dreams about a huge horse, but that's about it - she prefers to concentrate on the siege (the years that were left out of the movie so that Achilles could stay young and pretty) and assumes her readers will know what came next. That's rather a compliment when you're young - to know that an author actually credits you with being well informed. Though Tomlinson is English, and if I remember right we did the Greeks in third or fourth year.
Characterisation starts off rather simple - the story is told mostly from Myrina's perspective and a fourteen year old sees things differently from a twenty-something year old. As Myrina matures, so does the novel. Fourteen year old Myrina sees Paris as spoilt and annoying. Adult Myrina sees a weak, guilty man, very deeply in love.*
Achilles and his men kill most of Myrina's tribe, she wants to kills him, but he is still shown as an honourable man in battle. Helen is in love, but also retains her instincts of self-preservation, and is not portrayed as a bitch for doing so.
And she doesn't spare you the violence/sadness. People are dying all over the place.

I would have liked to read this about seven or eight years ago. Reading a book as an adult means you judge it by adult standards, which is a bit unfair. Though I think I prefer *childrens* books anyway. This made me cry, which proves it's certainly very effective.

*Again, compare this to Paris in Troy. Was the character written that one-dimensional deliberately, or was it the magic of Orlando Bloom?

1 comment:

jess said...

i have now finish reading this book it is very good but it very sad so many people get lost
this book is good i would advice reading it but not when you are sad