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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 6 April 2015
I first read this at school when I was 8 or 9, over 40 years ago now. I'd previously read Weirdstone, which I loved and which quite honestly changed my life, and yet I loved this even more. It's fast-paced, breathless and there are many things unresolved, but that, to me, is the beauty of it. It hints at things never quite grasped and there is an aching beauty to it, exhilaration tinged with sadness. It has haunted me for all these years and seems to become deeper and more profound every time I read it, helped no doubt by my visits to many of the places involved, which add an extra resonance. This was my favourite book as a child until I read Lord of the Rings aged 11; however the more I re-read both the more I think I prefer this; it's more ambiguous, more tantalising and leaves more to the imagination. It could even be my favourite ever book, which I'm sure would only amuse Alan. By today's standards it may seem simple and doubtless dated, but there's something behind it all that I keep coming back to. "Free for ever" indeed......
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on 21 November 2014
A thrilling book which will keep all readers engaged. In a category of its own this book has stood the test of time. Makes a great book to share with younger readers.
Garner never falls into the fantasy/ sci first genre, yet elements of fantasy are definitely present. Firmly rooted in the landscape of rural Cheshire the trilogy transcends its settings and is a timeless classic.
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on 26 January 2014
Excellent. I read this as a child. It is a mix of magic, myth and imagination that takes you from the dull and mundane into another world. I loved the book the first time round, and nothing has changed.
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on 14 April 2013
Essential reading for all ages from around 9 to 90. Read all the Garner (Owl Service, Elidor etc) in one swoop for a grand inner journey. Here's another splendid tale of primal forces and the gift / burden of chosenness for two school children, human values between battling archetypal forces. A further rite of passage en route to moral congruence as adults. Conscience and hardship overcome form the basis for this magical and wondrous tale set - as ever - in Alan Garner's beloved homelands of Cheshire's Alderley Edge.
The ethics in Garner are a potent antidote to the dross and instant gratification served up for passive consumption on TV and in much lighter weight literature. Help children to read these!
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on 10 March 2001
I read this book first as a child more than twenty years ago, and was enthralled. It awakened by interest in fantasy literature and I will always hold it's author in high respect for presenting such a spell-binding book.
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on 24 August 2013
The Moon of Gomrath is the second part of the trilogy which Alan Garner has recently concluded with Boneland (Weirdstone Trilogy 3). It's a perfect transition between the two outer novels, moving into altogether darker territories from The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, paving the way for the cosmic struggle for resolution of the final book.

The language which Garner employs here is altogether sparer than in The Weirdstone, and the reader is required to do more work in bringing their own imagination to bear in creating some of the dazzling imagery. This isn't onerous, and it fits with the author's idea that there 'are no original stories'; we have all absorbed elements of folklore and in a sense we're hearing something which may be already be buried in a different form in our psyche. The names used exist in literature, whether it be Celtic, Norse or Anglo-Saxon, the places described are real and even the spells are genuine (though incomplete; 'just in case').

Some of the themes Garner would later take up in other novels, for instance that of 'Old Magic', which is explored in Thursbitch. Here the summoning of Old Magic is central to Colin and Susan's journey in growing away from the wizard, Cadellin and towards an altogether higher calling; Cadellin distrusts it because it can be felt but not known, and is therefore beyond control. Its allure is primal however and once tasted it drives the novel all the way into - and beyond - Boneland.

A quite remarkable achievement in weaving together threads from our shared heritage into a deeply involving narrative.
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on 8 August 2012
It has been about 40 years since I last read this book, as an early teen in the 1970s. I was delighted but not surprised to re-experience it as not having lost it's simple but subtle potency, and this and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen are really *experiences* when you read them as a youngster.

Alan Garner is a wonderful story teller in a magical, folk lore'ish vein, his writing is more serious than CS Lewis, more deeply enchanting and spell binding than Tolkien.

The chapters are quite short but they keep a perfect pace for the story. There is a poetic undercurrent to AG's writing, a great appreciation of landscape and the senses.

The characters will seem dated to today's teenagers I think, coming from the early 60s, rather as CS Lewis' characters seemed to me as a youngster, but these are stories which retain their power, linking the experience of an innocent late childhood to a timeless undercurrent of magic and folklore.
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I've been rereading both The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and this book to be ready for the eagerly awaited third in what is now to be a trilogy, Boneland. They are books I read as a child and haven't read since but which made a big impression at the time. Is the magic still there? Definitely, but it's also changed (or I have).

When I first read the books, I definitely preferred Weirdstone, without being sure why. I can see why now - it is a much more straightforward story, mostly a chase. The characters of Colin and Susan, Garner's child protagonists, are scarcely drawn at all, nor is their background. There is no ambiguity at all. The story is place-laden but almost timeless.

In Gomrath, Garner explains a little more - so we learn that the old farmer Gowther Mossock is using a cart and oil lamps simply because he likes things that way: the teasing sense that the book could have been set almost any time in the past 100 years vanishes. He also begins to add complications: the "good" side includes various factions not all of whom get on well and some of whom don't seem to behave so well - even Cadellin Silverbrow, the wizard, rather shockingly refuses to leave Fundindelve to help the children. And Colin and Susan - especially Susan - are more central to the story. At one level they're exposed to danger from the forces of evil for their role in the earlier story, but at another they - again, especially Susan, begin to be active in raising the Wild Magic, something uncontrollable and actually disliked by Cadellin.

There are events in here that are definitely left hanging and which Garner will I'm sure be able to build on in Boneland (not least the references, which surprised me to Thursbitch, another recent book that I hope will be linked in).

In all, a more complex story that Weirdstone, though even shorter at 168 pages, and reading this one can already see Garner's storytelling moving on, gathering shape beyond that of a simple magical tale. It will be interesting to see how - and whether - he squares that process (which of course went further in books such as Red Shift with the early books.
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on 16 February 2014
I first read this book when I was much, much younger but it was every bit as enjoyable this time round. Garner's evocation of place, folklore and Celtic mythology is sublime and the whole book glows with ancient power.

It was clearly written as a children's books and the writing is a little simplistic but the power behind the story lifts the book beyond categorisation.

Anyone interested in Celtic mythology should read Alan Garner, child or not.
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on 2 April 2015
Very thought provoking and full of suspense. Quite a challenging read and leaves the reader wanting to find out more.
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