Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Alchemy and Meggy Swann - Karen Cushman

Synopsis: "Ye toads and vipers!" Thus says Meggy Swann, newly come to London from the country village where she was raised. She's not happy to be there, and why should she be? Her mother was glad to see the back of her. Her father, who sent for her, doesn't want her after all. The city is awash in dirt and muck, teeming with thieves and rogues, and very wearying to walk around in - especially for Meggy. She is the alchemist's daughter, though. Just as her father seeks to transform base metal into gold, Meggy sets out to change her condition for the better. In doing so, she finds herself to be braver and stronger and friendlier than she ever thought possible, and a competent rhymer as well.

Review: I absolutely love Karen Cushman's stories, even though she sometimes likes to go into detail about the lack of hygiene in the Renaissance a bit too much at times. And Alchemy and Meggy Swann has to be one of her best, if not the best. Meggy is a girl who, no matter the situation, lands on her feet and will fight her way to survival. She has a sharp tongue, but that sharp tongue keeps her alive and she is genuinely witty.

The dialogue, too, is wonderfully authentic without being just impossible to read. And the Author writes of the horrors and filth of Elizabethan London streets in such a matter-of-fact manner as to render it humorous, actually rather reminding me of Charles Dickens.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann comes highly recommended for all ages. It's a very quick and enjoyable read that anyone would like.

Overall Rating: 

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