Saturday, December 18, 2010
Book Review: Wolfborn by Sue Bursztynski
Subject:Child Fiction : Teenage
Break the curse or howl forever.
DESCRIPTION OF BOOK
Etienne, son of a lord in the kingdom of Armorique, goes to train as a knight with Geraint of Lucanne. Geraint is brave and kind, a good teacher and master - but he has a secret that he has kept from his family. He is bisclavret, a born werewolf. When Geraint is betrayed, Etienne must ally with the local wise-woman and her daughter, themselves bisclavret, to save his lord. But time is running out. If Geraint's enemies have their way, Geraint will soon be trapped in his wolf form.
And Etienne has his own secret. The decisions he makes will change his life forever . . .
Inspired by a medieval romance, this engaging novel forces us to question everything we thought we knew about werewolves.
‘... A richly detailed fantasy world, blending adventure, romance and paranormal elements to create a coming of age story that is quite unique.’ Tehani Wessely, AUSTRALIAN SPECULATIVE FICTION IN FOCUS
Praise for CRIME TIME
‘Bursztynski tackles crimes from cannibalism, identify theft and planned executions. There are some doozies too . . . It's an impressive collection of interesting tales backed with research. I loved that a recommendation list was provided at the conclusion of the book. Inevitably there are kids that want to read more and as a teacher/librarian, Bursztynski has the background to suggest other quality resources.’ www.persnicketysnark.com
About the Author
Sue Bursztynski grew up in Melbourne’s beachside suburbs, where she still lives. As a child, she used to sit on the beach to write, but later learned to write anywhere she could sit down with a pen and paper. She was thrilled to get her first computer, which meant she could make changes without having to re-write or re-type the whole story. She was even more thrilled when the Internet came along and made research much easier. Sue sold her first book, MONSTERS AND CREATURES OF THE NIGHT, in 1993 and has sold many more books, short stories and articles since then. Her book POTIONS TO PULSARS: WOMEN DOING SCIENCE was a CBCA Notable Book. Sue works in a school in Melbourne's western suburbs, where she tests out her writing on the students. She reviews children's and young adult books for JANUARY MAGAZINE and reads story submissions for ANDROMEDA SPACEWAYS INFLIGHT MAGAZINE. When not writing, Sue enjoys reading, music, blogging, great movies and handcraft. She also loves history, but has no problem fiddling with it for her fantasy fiction
Sue Bursztynski has released a number of books since selling her first one in 1993, with her works being across a wide spectrum, from YA to non-fiction. I have read one of her previous books, Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly, which we also reviewed at The Fringe earlier this year. Her latest novel is a medieval romance set in a fantasy world with characters such as Lord Geraint, a werewolf knight, Etienne a young local boy who is the son of a lord in the kingdom of Armorique, Sylvie a wise woman and her daughter Jeanne who help out Geraint and Etienne.
Wolfborn is a unique take on the werewolf legend, with elements such as the beast requiring the scent of their human form on a piece of clothing to be able to transform back from werewolf to human, and the their type. There are Loup Garou werewolves, humans who have made a deal with the dark one to obtain the ability to change into a wolf, and the Bisclavret, natural born werewolves who see the change when they hit puberty. These elements added to the story and made it stand apart from the multitude of other novels about lycanthropy on the market at the moment.
You will find loose references to Celtic folklore, Shakespeare and Roman literature interwoven into the backdrop and setting to this story, making it a rich and almost familiar world with parallel similarities to our own world. The atmosphere set by Bursztynski is tremendous and while aimed at the YA market, will be enjoyed by adult readers as well.
The afterword of Wolfborn details the inspiration for Bursztynski’s book in a twelfth century collection of stories by Marie de France called Breton Lais. The story is formed around one of these short pieces of fiction title Lai Le Bisclavret about a happily married knight known as only Bisclavret who keeps the secret of his werewolf curse from his wife until she eventually finds out then leaves him.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a medieval romance with a twist of the paranormal.