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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and Fun., 1 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Battle of the Sun (Hardcover)
Jack is a thirteen year old boy living in 17th Century London. He doesn't know it yet but an evil alchemist calling himself the Magus is planning to overthrow the Queen of England and take control of the kingdom for himself. To do this he will turn the entire capital, including the inhabitants, into gold. The final ingredient is the Radiant Boy, who is the key to finally turning base objects into solid gold. Jack is that boy and so finds himself kidnapped, taken to the disturbing home of the Magus who seeks to unlock his magic and bend Jack to his will. The young boy is by no means a willing captive and soon discovers another prisoner who was once the Magus' master. This prisoner promises to give him the key to escaping if he will free him in return. What follows is whirlwind of events where Jack meets a dragon and gains his own powers and superhuman strength. But the boy has no control over his new magic and is no match for the cunning Magus. Forced to obey him they set events in motion that will lead to the city being turned to gold in just a few days. With the Magus gone to prepare for his confrontation with the Queen, Jack is left to find a way to somehow defeat him. Helped by Silver, the heroine from the previous book of the series Tanglewreck, he sets out to not only save the city but everyone he loves before it is too late.

The Battle of the Sun is a highly imaginative book with strange creatures, most of which are unpleasant, making appearances throughout the tale. The best of these is the Creature(s) that consist of Wedge and mistress Split who were made in a bottle as a whole and then cut in half. Their presence is both malevolent, pitiful and amusing as they hop around one legged. It's this cast of the weird and the wonderful that really gives this book such a compelling feel. The plot itself is rather basic but then takes on so many unexpected twists and turns that it will leave the reader slightly out of breath and introduces a London that no-one could have imagined and even brings important figures such as the Queen into play. There is also a welcome return of Silver who saved the world in Tanglewreck. She is less prominent here as she figures as Jacks sidekick but nevertheless plays an important role as the book gears up towards the final deadly confrontation between the Magus and the Radiant boy.

Cleverly linked with the previous novel The Battle of the Sun can still be read as a stand alone book and there is also hints pointing to a third instalment. An exciting fantasy adventure this is highly enjoyable read. Do not let yourself be put of by Jeanette Winterson's unusual writing style which you will soon get used to and even grow to appreciate.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 27 Dec 2009
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C. Jones (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Battle of the Sun (Hardcover)
I had this book for Christmas and have read the whole thing in one day. It's a super read and brilliantly overlaps with Tanglewreck without simply following on from it chronologically. I would recommend this story to both adults and children. Jeanette Winterson has a fantastic and unique way with words and anyone who has read her other books and liked them will not be disappointed. A beautifully written, cleverly plotted and perfectly paced novel from a brilliant storyteller.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alchemy strikes gold, 17 Jan 2010
By 
Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Battle of the Sun (Hardcover)
Colourful, absurd, time-warped and magical, The Battle of the Sun is as likely a book as any other to fire the imaginations of young readers.

Being in part a fairy story, we have a sunflower (behaving like a beanstalk), a dragon, a knight in shining armour, a maiden held captive in a tower and a moral (an interesting one at that, overpaid bankers please note!). But this 'traditional' story has C21 credentials with concepts straight out of existentialist theory (the characters are in a house which exists only inside the brain of the Magus) and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle ('The Dragon was busy filling the moat with what might have been water, and was but wasn't'). Younger readers, of course, probably won't have the labels but they'll appreciate the paradox and delight in the impossibly twisted logic. They will not have a monopoly on enjoyment, however.

Teeming London streets, bustling and jostling with Elizabethan vigour, add realism while the poetry is consistently rewarding. Often, we find echoes of Dylan Thomas ('the large untidy garden was night-time quiet'). Alchemy, meanwhile, may well have been thoroughly debunked but it has helped to create some memorable literature (Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, for example. Oh, and Winterson has a character called Abel here, too.) The Battle of the Sun creates riches of its own and extends an already long line of magical children's fiction.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Sequel to Tanglewreck, 13 Aug 2010
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
I make the point that this book is a sequel to Tanglewreck first, because I did not realise this when I bought it, and I think the story would have worked better had I read the first one first.

But despite my occasional confusion, this was a wonderful adventure set mostly at the turn of the 17th century, where Jack Snap is swept up into the nefarious plans of a magician who cares little for the lives of thsoe he harms, and is plotting to bring down Queen Elizabeth (the ginger one).

The plan involves the alchemists dream of creating gold - not just from lead but from anything using stolen magic from the boys who serve him. But Jack finds help from Silver, heroine of Tanglewreck, who travels in time to aid Jack in his hour of need.

This is where I got confused, and I note that another reviewer says that readers of this book should be able to read it as a standalone. Once Silver enters the story though, I was left feeling I was missing a large chunk of important information, and though I could follow the story without it, I would say that any potential readers are well advised to read that first book first, rather than assume this book works as a standalone.

That is not a criticism of the story though. Read both books because they are great, and ideal for their intended young adult audience. They work for adult readers too. Although not profound, these are thoroughly entertaining, imaginative and original stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative magical evocation of Elizabethan London, 31 Jan 2011
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Battle of the Sun (Paperback)
In Winterson's sequel to Tanglewreck we are thrown back into Elizabethan London and Jack is on his way home eager to take charge of his new puppy when he is kidnapped and kept prisoner in the grey stone of the house of the Magus, an alchemist who has found a way to turn London to gold and force Elizabeth I to cede power to him. As Silver is pulled through time from the present day and her previous battle to rescue the Timekeeper in Tanglewreck London starves and the children battle old and new enemies and encounter bizarre and magical creatures, an old dragon, a wraith like ancient king, a fearsome phoenix and a servant girl and man who are one person split in two. Brilliantly written and bringing to life the the reality of life in Elizabethan times, dirty, smelly, often wretched, impoverished and supersititious, thronging with people and created from living wood and trees.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multi-layered book, particularly interesting for Jeannette Winterson fans, 28 Mar 2013
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Ties in with her autobiography, which makes it very interesting psychologically for fellow grown-up readers. Great adventure story for child readers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK, 12 Nov 2010
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L. A. LINDL "no to gadgets" (Southend, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Battle of the Sun (Paperback)
HAVE HAD A NO. OF COPIES OF THIS BOOK TO GIVE TO RELATIVES AS PRESENTS, EACH ONE SAY IT IS A GREAT BOOK TO READ......AGES FROM 7 TO 13.....
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The Battle of the Sun
The Battle of the Sun by Jeanette Winterson (Paperback - 7 Jun 2010)
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