Title: Grayling’s Song
Author: Karen Cushman
Synopsis: Like all Karen Cushman’s gorgeous novels, “Grayling s Song”delves into the past to let us know what we must ask of our future. Lena DunhamIt s time for Grayling to be a hero. Her mother, a wise woman a sort of witch has been turned into a tree by evil forces. Tangles and toadstools! Lacking confidence after years of being called Feeble Wits by her mother, Grayling heads off dubiously into the wilds in search of help, where she finds a weather witch, an aromatic enchantress, a cheese soothsayer, a slyly foolish apprentice, and a shape-shifting mouse named Pook!A fast-paced and funny coming-of-age odyssey from a Newbery medalist.”
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!
I read Grayling’s Song in a day. While that is a positive in the book’s favour, it’s definitely not a new middle grade favourite for me. This definitely one of those novels where I feel like adults wouid have a deeper appreciation for the language and the story itself, and that makes it harder to recommend for younger readers.
There is a rich fantasy world in this novel that resembles medieval England. I really loved the setting and the way in which it captures the story. Cushman’s writing is very vivid, almost dreamlike, and she definitely challenges readers with her use of language. As an adult reading this novel, I can appreciate the use of language and the way in which it captures the world and the characters, but at the same time I feel like if I was a middle grader reading this book, I’d have a bit of a hard time with this book.
I admit though, I really did struggle at times with the characters. For me, the characters in this novel were missing a spark for me. They didn’t have the same kind of layering that I generally like in middle grade, so I found it hard to fall in love with them. For me the most memorable character was Pookia, whom I adored. I just thought he was such a delightful character!
Grayling’s Song is beautifully written and I do think it will have an audience with fantasy fans, especially older ones. There’s beautiful writing and a rich world in need of exploring. I just wish that I had personally enjoyed it more than I did.