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A Reader of Fictions: All I Ever Wanted - The Prince of Egypt

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All I Ever Wanted - The Prince of Egypt

The Coming of the Dragon
The Coming of the Dragon, Book 1

Author: Rebecca Barnhouse
Pages: 301
Publisher: Random House

Description from Goodreads:
Rebecca Barnhouse weaves Norse gods, blood feuds, and a terrifying dragon into this spectacular retelling of the end of the Old English poem Beowulf.

When he was a baby, Rune washed up onshore in a boat, along with a sword and a pendant bearing the runes that gave him his nickname. Some people thought he was a sacrifice to the gods and wanted to send him right back to the sea. Luckily for Rune, King Beowulf disagreed. He lifted the boy from the boat and gave him to Amma, a wisewoman living on a farm far removed from the king’s hall, to raise as she saw fit.

Sixteen years later, Rune spends his summers laboring on the farm. And at King Beowulf’s request, he comes to the hall each winter for weapons training. But somehow he never quite fits in. Many people still fear he will bring a curse on the kingdom. Then a terrible thing happens. On a lonely crag on a mountain that belongs to the giants, someone awakens a dragon. It is time for Rune to find the warrior inside himself and prove to the doubters once and for all that he is a true hero.

First Sentence: "No one knew how long Amma had been there."

Like most everyone else, I had to read Beowulf in high school. I hated it. However, I did like Grendel more, so I was still interested in a book based on Beowulf. To be honest, though, I really do not remember the end of Beowulf, like at all. So, I can only base this on itself, and not on the cleverness of the retelling.

The story is definitely told in an ancient epic kind of manner that seems fitting to the tale Barnhouse is telling. The writing is good. I see no reason why fans of Beowulf should not enjoy this.

For me, though, this book turned out to be a solid meh. I just didn't connect to Rune as a character. He spends all of his time whining about how weak he is. It makes sense that he has such low self-esteem, since he's surrounded by so many people putting him down all the time, but reading about it got tiring. Amma is an intriguing character but we don't learn much about her. Actually, I don't feel like I got a good handle on anyone but Rune himself.

However, I do have slightly higher hopes for Peaceweaver, since it seems like there might be a strong female lead in that one, which would be excellent.

Favorite Quote: "What would he say to the king? My lord, a calamity is upon us. No, that sounded pompous. Dear King, the time had come for men to honor their mead-hall boasts. Bah. Even worse."

Rating: 2.5/5

"This is your home, my son
Here the river brought you
And it's here the river meant
To be your home
Now you know the truth, love
Now forget and be content
When the gods send you a blessing
You don't ask why it was sent..."

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Anonymous Christina Kit. said...

I haven't read Beowulf at all, and I know there have been tons of movies about it, but this story seems a little different.

Too bad you didn't like it. I wonder if it was the lack of character development? If in the end Rune had become strong and confident, you might have enjoyed his journey more.

March 24, 2012 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I think my main issue was with Rune as a main character. I'm reading the companion novel, Peaceweaver, right now and am seriously enjoying it, because it's told from the perspective of another character. The review should be up tonight.

March 25, 2012 at 11:05 AM  

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