Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Book Review: Endymion Spring

I enjoyed Endymion Spring, by Matthew Skelton, so much that I lent it to someone else that I thought would enjoy it. She enjoyed it so much that she lent to someone else, and so on, with the result that I had to track the book down in order to borrow it back long enough to review it. That's the kind of book it is: a book that you just have to share with someone.

Endymion Spring tells the stories of two different boys in two different times: Blake, who is temporarily residing at Oxford, in our time, and Endymion, a mute apprentice to Johann Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, in fifteenth century Mainz, Germany. The two boys are linked through a magical book, a book with no words, or rather, with words that only certain people can see. The book touches the lives of both boys in unusual ways, and both find themselves in dire peril as evil men seek to possess the book for their own ends.

Endymion Spring is a remarkable and unusual book. I loved the rich descriptions of Oxford, a place that seems so magical to me that I can hardly believe it really exists. Yet Michele of Scholar's Blog assures me that the descriptions of the Bodleian Library in this book are pretty accurate. I hope that I have a chance to visit someday! Blake's story is exciting and will keep you on the edge of your seat, trying to guess who is the Person in Shadow. Endymion's sections are no less intriguing; I've always been interested in the history of printing, and it was fun to read a fictional story that ties in with it.

I've seen several reviewers that didn't like the book because, in their opinion, it didn't live up to the hype. It is true that the publisher has hyped this book to an annoying degree, but that didn't diminsh my enjoyment of the book. I can't speak to whether the book lived up to the hype or not, because I pretty much just ignored the hype and evaluated the book on it's own merits.

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Michele said...

It's true - that's a pretty accurate description of the Bod (as it's affectionately known) - although you wouldn't get to see the stacks if you visited, as (so far as I know) they're off-limits to the visitor tour of the library. I only got to see them because I went for an interview, hoping to get a job at the best library in England, at least from my point of view, since I wanted to be in Oxford !

I missed the hype on Endymion Spring too, but I have to say that I ignore most book hype ! I'm glad that you enjoyed it...

Sam Garcia said...

Having read the book 5 years ago and being only 14 now I was intrigued when I heard the name of it being discussed by a good friend of mine. I quickly took the time to re-read it and I'm glad I did! Memories crept from the past and I enjoyed it as much as I did in 4th grade. I suggest this book to anyone who likes to curl in a comfortable chair to start an amazing tale.