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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Story
I, Coriander is about a girl living in the time of Oliver Cromwell and Charles II. It ties together fantasy- a magical fairy world ruled by an evil queen, and the reality. It shows great sadness from two aspects- one in the real world with the Puritans and problems Coriander faces (tugged at my heartstrings- excellently written) and one in the fantasy fairy land...
Published on 25 Mar 2006 by Livvy H

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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story, needs to work on her history
"I, Coriander" is a lovely story. And taken purely as a story, it's probably one of the best new pieces of children's fiction to crop up in the post-Potter landscape.

So why only two stars? Well, although she's written a strong narrative, Sally Gardner has done her readers a serious disservice by her misrepresentation of what actually happened in the...
Published on 4 Mar 2008 by Mr. M. W. Hilton


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Story, 25 Mar 2006
This review is from: I, Coriander (Hardcover)
I, Coriander is about a girl living in the time of Oliver Cromwell and Charles II. It ties together fantasy- a magical fairy world ruled by an evil queen, and the reality. It shows great sadness from two aspects- one in the real world with the Puritans and problems Coriander faces (tugged at my heartstrings- excellently written) and one in the fantasy fairy land.
Personally, I am not a fan of fantasy writing. I find them cliched, which this proved to be by having the "evil queen." and, 'good vs. evil.' Despite this, I feel the author has brilliantly described the struggles in the real world- it is an excellent read and shows great effort and historical knowledge.
I recommend it for ages 11 +
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding novel!!!!, 15 Aug 2005
By 
S. Sweeney (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Coriander (Hardcover)
This book is absolutely brilliant. When i Started reading it i could not put it down! Coriander, the hero of the story, lives a perfect life with her mother and father in London.Until a pair of silver shoes arrive on their doorstep for Coriander. After this her life is turned upside down, as she strays between our world and the world her mother came from, the land of Fairies. On the way she makes friends and enemies. The ending, however, is perfect. This is a must read for everyone, from history lovers to fairy lovers!!!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding historical fantasy, 13 Oct 2005
This review is from: I, Coriander (Hardcover)
'I,Coriander' is a fascinating fairy tale giving a sharp historical perspective on the Commonwealth, the period following the English civil war.It is a substantial fairytale told with total conviction by Sally Gardner who marries the fantastical fairies with solid historical facts presented elegantly in a totally credible fashion. She is adept at conjuring up the sights, sounds and smells of 17th century England. She is particularly good at smells; the stench of the middens running along the street, the smell of unwashed bodies, the upturned chamberpots, the filthy Thames. She writes of a period made famous by Samuel Pepys in his diaries. It is a period of violent, political turmoil with suspected royalists being denounced, and Puritans with their killjoy approach to life, holding sway over everything.
The heroine Coriander, only child of a wealthy silk merchant and his fairy wife Eleanor, inherits from her dead mother her 'cunning' skills. She can diagnose and heal sickness using her mother's simples and herbs.
It is a delightful, beautifully constructed novel. It reads easily as it tells of the travails of the child Coriander stepping between life as the stepchild of a violent ranting Puritan Maud with her drunken preacher associate Arise Fell and her spells with the fairies as she struggles with the Fairy Queen Rosmore and her powerful raven for the soul of her mother and the life of the handsome Prince Tycho.
Sally Gardner is totally steeped in the period and brings it vividly to life. All her characters seem to have a life of their own and continued living for me long after I finished the book.
'I,Coriander' partially recalled Celia Rees 'Witchchild'for me and also 'The Wise Woman' by Philippa Gregory (set in Tudor England) both novels are concerned with 'witchcraft'using simples and herbs. However 'I, Coriander' uses a gentler form of magic although the fairies themselves are malevolent and vengeful.
Sally Gardner draws some delightful full-blooded characters especially Coriander herself, Hester, Gabriel and Master Thankless. She is clever too at delineating some revolting villains especially the mean-spirited, violent tempered Maud and the fanatical, serve-serving Puritan preacher Arise Fell. It is a strong story well-told and kept me so absorbed I read it at a sitting being unwilling to put it down until evil was vanquished but to learn how you must read the book yourself.I strongly recommend this thoroughly absorbing read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and entrancing!, 23 Mar 2007
This review is from: I, Coriander (Paperback)
"I have lit the first of seven candles to write my story by. On the table next to me is the silk purse that holds my mother's pearls and beside it is the ebony casket whose treasure I am only now beginning to understand. Next to that standing nearly as brightly as the moon, stands a pair of silver shoes."

This is just one of the many mesmerizing quotes filling Sally Gardner's book, "I, Coriander". Apart from being mesmeric the book has many other key elements, such as it being: tense, exciting, scary, and emotional.

The story is about a young girl called Coriander Hobie who lives with her Mother, Father, Danes (the house keeper) and Joan (the cook) in their rich London house next to the River Thames in the mid 1600's. While she was young, Coriander remembers only happiness - that was before she knew that the world was an evil place; and that she was soon to be hit regularly; have her Mother and Father stolen from her; and to be locked up in a chest and left to die.

As well as being a good book, it also has some background information about the civil war, as that was the time the story was set. There are also some drawings of what London used to look like back in the 1600's.

If this sounds like a cruel book to you don't get put off, there are many happy parts along the way. However there is quite a lot of brutality so I suggest no one under the age of 10 should read it.

If you love a good read then this is the book for you. There isn't a single page I wanted to skip because it's such a moving and entrancing book. Who would want to miss anything so good?

Charlotte
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical & lyrical, 16 July 2006
This review is from: I, Coriander (Paperback)
Wow... that really is the better way to describe this! The words are so beautifully old fashioned (without being hard to read) and the story is equally beautiful as well. The kind of book that hexes you, and refuses to let you go. Every moment spent reading it is a moment in pure bliss!

The story tells of Coriander, and how she came to grow up. Loosing her mother at a very young age, her life takes on a very strange, twisted and evil road to adulthood. After her mother suddenly and unexpectantly dies, her father re-marries and then has to leave the country to save his own life. Coriander is left in the care of her new step mother, and her priest. A team that is nothing less than the devils own. They take pleasure in tormenting Coriander, and claim they are "witch hunters". Coriander on the other hand refuses to give in to the cruelty. And escapes to the Fairyland her mother once came from. Where she meets new friends, falls in love and meets yet another evil woman. The evil queen. Coriander must leave the fairylands behind, to save her mothers soul, and the life of her beloved!

I, Coriander is a highly original fairytale. Told through the eyes and words of a girl brought up with fine silk, and silver spoons. Yet she is no porcelain doll. She is a fiesty young woman, and she tackles whatever life throws at her! It is in deed a gorgeous novel! It'll be a treasure for years to come!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book, 30 Sep 2005
This review is from: I, Coriander (Hardcover)
I, Coriander is a book about two different worlds, the world of fairies and witches and the human world of hardship and cruelty. I'm 9 and I couldn't put it down. It is a book to inspire young writers and encourage dyslexic readers because of how the writer overcame her disabilities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever!!!, 16 April 2008
This review is from: I, Coriander (Paperback)
This magical Classic had me hooked from the first word up until the last sentence, i just could not put it down. Parts of it were tricky to follow but i highly recommend it to anyone who likes magical,murderous spell binding tales. This well written book has to be my favourte book of all times. Coriander is a normal girl with loving parents and a wonderful life. But she tries on some beautiful shoes and from that day on she learns how evil this world is. Her mother murdered by evil Rosemore, her father arrested and if that is not enough she lives with the 'devil' himself, who goes by the name of Arise Fall. He locks Coriander up in a chest and leaves her to die. But what happens when she discovers her dead mothers secret? Will it be enough to save her!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic & History in a Beautiful Package, 20 April 2014
By 
Andrew D Wright "Andrew W." (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: I, Coriander (Paperback)
This book is many things. It's a fantasy novel, but it's an historical one too, an adventure wrapped in a mystery with some of the most memorable characters you'll find in children's fiction, with, for example, a particularly superb bad guy. It's set in seventeenth century London and we first come across Coriander in her very happy early childhood. It's written from a first person point of view and I listened to the audiobook version and had the joy of a Juliet Stevenson narration with a great plethora of fantastic accents.

The story begins beautifully;

It is night, and I have lit the first of seven candles to write my story by. My name is Coriander Hobie, and I have a great many things to tell–of silver shoes that tempted me and an alligator most rare; of London, the home of my childhood, and another, stranger land, one that I thought only existed in dreams; and of an ebony box whose treasure only now am I beginning to understand. The box was once my mother’s, but its secrets were meant for me.

This being my story and a fairy tale besides, I will start once upon a time . . .

And it carries on in this fashion, each sentence, scene, setting and character delicately dressed before being allowed anywhere near the reader's willing imagination. I loved Sally's Maggot Moon and this predates it, showing her wonderful versatility. This is wonderful fiction, an exotic setting, we see London Bridge as the single crossing point of the Thames at that time in all its olfactory, mercantile, gory - heads on spikes - glory.

Coriander's adventures coincide with some seismic historical events, the English Revolution and the installation of Oliver Cromwell and rout of the monarchy. We experience the hair-shirt philosophy of Puritanism when Coriander's father - a successful merchant - falls on hard times when he's suspected of being a royalist sympathiser. But the historical stuff isn't the main show, there's magic here, shiny and silver and alluring, accessed by a pair of silver shoes shaped perfectly for our heroine's feet. Coriander's mother hails from another realm and on her death bed passes Coriander her shadow, a resplendent shimmering puddle of magic with incredible and much-sought after powers.

As Coriander's story takes a dark turn her father decides to re-marry - for appearances only - to put paid the suspicions about his possible royalist sympathies. The woman chosen for him by a friend of the family is Maud, a wretched, ugly and despicable hag selected for puritanical zeal only. She brings in tow our gold medal-winning bad guy; Arise Fell. This crooked man with bottle-green glasses is truly horrible, a violent, god-fearing puritan who uses - like so many psychotic bullies have through the ages - his devout beliefs to engage in blatant criminality. He murders, physically abuses, lies, steals and cheats; fine actions for the god-fearing.

Coriander's life takes a terribly bleak turn and she is forced to change her name - Coriander deemed to indulgent and vain by her step-mother and Arise Fell - and when her father has to go on the run the poor girl is left at the mercy of these religious thugs. Poor Ann as she is now is mercilessly bullied by her new step-mother as is the woman's own daughter; the brow-beaten Hester. Coriander's link with the magical fairy realm of her mother saves her life when she's locked in a trunk by Arise and Maud where she remains for three years. At this point in the story Coriander learns about the political machinations in the fairy kingdom and falls in love with Tycho who is betrothed to a girl he doesn't love. Coriander intervenes and stops a royal fairy wedding.

Having learnt much about her past Coriander, now three years older, and almost a fully grown woman returns miraculously to the inside of the trunk she was locked in and with friendly house-servants and allies of her mother exacts revenge of Arise Fell and Maud. The crooked man suffers an alarming fate but we don't feel anything but pleasure as the crocodile's teeth chomp down.

This was a captivating and wonderful story, not a cyborg, laser sight or magic wand in sight, a lovingly constructed modern fairy tale with all the historical details left in. There be fairies in seventeenth century London and Coriander knows where to find them.

This book defies the genre dividing lines, YA notionally because of the age of the key protagonist but also tagged with the genre speculative fiction which seems to sum it up so very much better. Different, engaging and interesting and almost impossible to guess what was going to happen next. Expect the unexpected.

**** Four stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical, 14 April 2006
By 
M. L. Jensen (Bath, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Coriander (Hardcover)
This book swept me away into another world. I loved the structure and the atmosphere. It was a dreamy and absorbing read - one of the best books I've read in ages. The fantasy element jarred with me at first, but I loved the way it was woven into the story. Great era, great story, great writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner!, 24 Mar 2008
By 
Laura (London, UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Coriander (Paperback)
I was recommended this book by a friend who said it was a historical fantasy type novel. Fantasy genre is not really for me but this book totally suprised. After about the third or so chapter I just had to read on and finished it really quickly as it was so gripping...

The book is about a girl who lives in the time of the english civil war when her mother dies and her father a royalist gets sent away and Corriander is left with her father's second marrige to a horrible lady called Maud. She treats Corriander terribly and Corriander sees nothing doom. But her mother before she died had lived in a different world and when Corriander locked up in a chest travels there she realises her life has only just begun....

Please do not think that this book is a soppy fairy story because it really is not it is a fantastic serious novel with a really good plot and much deeper than a fairy story. The novel is a really great read and kept me captured in it till the very last page.

The book would best suit aged 10+ and if you like anything historical, fantasy or a really gripping you HAVE to read this. But really anybody would enjoy it as it has something for everyone.
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I, Coriander
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner (Paperback - 5 Jun 2006)
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