Review Blog

May 02 2010

The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson

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Bloomsbury, 2009. ISBN 9781408801505.
Highly recommended for 10 years and up. From the likes of Jeanette Winterson, author of such adult titles as Oranges are not the only fruit and Lighthousekeeping, one would expect something unusual in a children's title. Indeed this novel follows Tanglewreck published in 2006, and these fantasy, time switch stories do hold many intriguing adventures, with just that different edge to them.
Imagery is fantastic. Characters are 'cool' and various, with numerous Dickensian and Arthurian types.
A sorcerer dreams of turning the early seventeenth century city of London into gold, and with the help of kidnapped boys, he begins his greedy evil plan. Young Jack seems to have some preordained role in overcoming the abomination, and he battles to discover the power behind the Magus. Indeed, the evil takes many forms and the boys' adventures are mesmerising. A young girl, Silver, joins Jack; her life in this story begins as a captive of the Magus who has snatched her from the twenty-first century. She comes from Winterson's previous story Tanglewreck. Jack's quest is a mighty one, but with his inner courage and support from his friends he learns how to overcome what seems impossible odds. Winterson's imagination takes the reader into a world of secrets, disguises, amazing battles and fantastical creatures. She plays with language - repetition and rhythm give a poetic feel, and the emphasis on certain words and phrases add clarity to the action. The characters are interesting, often sharing some clever teasing; some tongue-in-cheek humour is used to make everything just that more believable. Silver and Jack could very well meet again in a further episode!
Julie Wells

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