"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Foretelling


The Foretelling
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316154091
ISBN-13: 978-0316154093

From the first chapter:
“Ours was a time of blood, when the sky reached on forever, when one horse became a hundred and then a thousand, when we wore our hair in long black braids and rode as warriors. Everything we had was given to us by the goddess, and everything we lost was taken away by her.”

The Foretelling
is Alice Hoffman’s fourth book for young readers and what a great tale it is. Rain, the heroine is a young Amazon princess who was born to Alina, Queen of the legendary Amazon warriors. She is destined to become the Queen of the Amazons herself as told in the prophecies of her people. Told in spare, gorgeous prose we learn that Rain is raised by the other women of the tribe, her mother is unable to be close to her as she is the product of a violent rape. Rain, like all girls of her tribe is raised on mare’s milk and nutured with the strength of the warriors. She is a girl given to dark dreams and strange longings.

Rain is determined to win her mother’s love and become the best Amazon warrior there is. She practices constantly on her horse, learning tricks and becoming so one with it that she exceeds even Amazonian expectations. None of what she does wins her the love she craves though and Rain grows up always feeling a bit different and alone. She must find her place within the tribe and become a Queen in her own right and bringing about a very different future for her people.

This story is remarkable in its ability to bring a legendary culture about which very little is known about to life. Alice Hoffman’s Amazons are larger than life, but very real and multi-dimensional. Rain’s quest to find herself and her place in the midst of war, turmoil and treachery is astounding and quite wonderful. It’s such an eloquent, believable and poetic story. Highly recommended!

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