Review: Endymion Spring

Review: Endymion SpringEndymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
Published by Delacorte BFYR on August 22, 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-half-stars

"You've stumbled on to something much larger than you can possibly imagine."

In the dead of night, a cloaked figure drags a heavy box through snow-covered streets. The chest, covered in images of mythical beasts, can only be opened when the fangs of its serpent's-head clasp taste blood.

Centuries later, in an Oxford library, a boy touches a strange book and feels something pierce his finger. The volume is blank, wordless, but its paper has fine veins running through it and seems to quiver, as if it's alive. Words begin to appear on the page--words no one but the boy can see.

And so unfolds a timeless secret . . .

Brief Summary:
Blake Winters has been displeased with what his life has been bringing him. His parents have been having problems; his mother, an academic, moved across the Atlantic Ocean to Oxford, along with Blake and his sister, Duck. Blake worries that the separation may be permanent. Although his mother is supposed to be teaching him, she is too busy with her own studies, leaving the two children to explore the library and forcing Blake to babysit for his sister. All he wants is for his family to be together again, until the day he discovers a mysterious, old book on the shelves of the Bodleian Library. Suddenly, he is embroiled in a war against good and evil that has been going on since the days of Johann Gutenberg and his assistant, Endymion Spring.

Review:
I picked this book up, because, as a librarian, it is rather a prerequisite to enjoy metafiction, books about books. This has at times betrayed me (ex. The Grand Complication incident), but often works out in my favor, as with Endymion Spring. The weaving of the sections set in the past (1453 with Endymion Spring) and the present (Blake) is done expertly. The book conveys a true love of libraries and of books themselves. It does a marvelous job also of blending fantasy and historical fiction, weaving magic into a tale with a basis in truth. The characters are a bit one dimensional, but still likable (particularly Duck with her yellow raincoat and curiosity). I recommend this book to lovers of metafiction (people who liked Inkheart, I’m talking, or typing, to you).

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