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Dark Angels Paperback – 30 Apr 2009
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“Langrish is a first-rate storyteller who deftly weaves into her tales vivid, well-researched domestic detail, real folklore and emotional intelligence.” Amanda Craig, The Times
Praise for Troll Blood:
“The gripping climax mixes humour, adventure and imagination.” Amanda Craig, The Times
"An exciting and rewarding story, enriched by Langrish's wonderfully effective evocation of contemporary folklore… This is a lovely book. Read it. Read all three!" School Librarian
"I love these books. Katherine Langrish is often compared to Alan Garner. She uses the same blend of history, mythology, fantasy and magic to spin a thumpingly good tale that is both realistic and dream-like… The historical details are awesomely researched." The Book Bag
Praise for Troll Mill:
“Despite the high drama of Troll Mill, it is moments of comedy… which will make children rock with delight and long for the further adventures of Peer.” Amanda Craig, The Times
Praise for Troll Fell:
In Troll Fell Katherine Langrish has unearthed a captivating world. Bleak and captivating. Her style is quirky and hypnotic and her characters are instantly recognizable as someone you know, or someone you wish you didn't. Eoin Colfer
"Troll Fell is a joy… a marvellous, magical adventure…” Amanda Craig, The Times
"The style is enthralling, and the adventure persuasive and gripping. A juicy read for children." Independent on Sunday
"From the opening page… Langrish's power to locate her story in the reader's imagination is reminiscent of Alan Garner." Sunday Telegraph
About the Author
Katherine Langrish grew up in Yorkshire, studied English at university and has always enjoyed writing and telling stories. Married with two daughters, Katherine lived in France near the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, where she ran a storytelling group for children. She has also lived in New York State, near the Finger Lakes, said by Native American legends to be the hand-print of the Great Spirit. Katherine currently lives in Oxfordshire and is enjoying her life as a full-time author.
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Nor does this author do traditional heroes. Former crusader Sir Hugo, though not nearly as ruthless as the psychotic Harald in Troll Blood, is strongly hinted to be far from the perfect knight, with countless innocent deaths on his conscience. No, the `hero' here is actually Wolf, a 13-year-old boy who's extraordinary by his very ordinariness, and a lack of any obvious `heroic' traits - apart from the one that proves to be all that matters: a good heart.
There's also a terrific heroine in the form of Nest (`Don't call me Lady Agnes'), another wholly realistic teenager trapped in a world that has nothing to offer her. Living in dread of her imminent arranged marriage, she proves that a strong female character doesn't have to be a bow-wielding violent action heroine. In fact my favourite scene in the whole book is where Nest turns on her oppressors with a ferocious blast of medieval feminism that should have everyone, girl or boy, cheering.
The setting is just a dream - sometimes a fevered dream - an astonishingly vivid wild British landscape, in which the sound of a light wind might be the Devil's hunting horn, or a patter of stones the feet of spectral hounds on your scent. But if `Dark Angels' makes the supernatural almost commonplace, then the real mystery and magic comes from very human troubles and questions. Has Hugo's beloved wife been stolen away by elves, or is he just mad with grief? Is the strange feral Elfgift really an elf, or just a lost and abandoned little girl? And - most haunting of all - how far should love be prepared to go?
My only complaint is that I wished it was twice as long. And that more fantasy was like this.
Part of the problem could have been that I have read a lot of young adult books recently, and most of them have been brilliant, hooking you right from the start, whereas this one didn't seem to be going anywhere.
all in all, disappointing. the characters weren't particularly interesting, the story wasn't as scary or mystical as it described it to be. perhaps if i'd managed to read the 2nd half, I would change my mind, but it just wasn't good enough to keep me reading.
Dark Angels is a great fantasy novel, a genre I am fussy about. I either like or hate them, this I liked. Set in the time of the Crusades, when people saw things differently. They feared elves and demons; this is what the book is drawn on. These mysterious creatures which are caught somewhere between Heaven and Hell.
The characters are ones you will fall in love with Elfgift the elf child and Wolf, you will empathise and root for them throughout. Not forgetting the heroine of the story Nest, who speaks to the Hearth Hob as natural as we speak to our friends. She was my favourite character, the daughter of a knight, who wanted to do something special with her life.
Katherine's descriptions of the world are so vivid and wonderful you can't help being caught up in them. It is as if you can smell the wood burning stove, taste the food and feel the wind on your face.
The ending was unexpected, but a great way to end it, one I very much enjoyed. A great book for early teen readers upwards and perfect for both boys and girls, with its strong characters of both genders. One I would highly recommend.
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