Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Drowned Ammet

Book Two of the Dalemark Quartet

by Diana Wynne Jones

Reviewed August 24, 2004.
Beechtree, New York, 1995.  Originally published in 1977.  312 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF JON).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #9, Young Adult and Children's Fantasy Old Favorites

I’m reading The Dalemark Quartet to my ten-year-old son.  This is my least favorite of the four books.  I’m always disappointed when, in the second book, an author leaves a main character we’ve come to care about.  Still, we see a new side to political matters in Dalemark and, by the end of the book, come to care about Mitt.

This book has characters that don’t start out as likeable as the characters from Cart and Cwidder.  Mitt is growing up seeking vengeance against a group of freedom fighters who betrayed his father.  His plan is to carry a bomb to the Holand Sea Festival and then say that the Free Holanders did it. 

Hildy and Ynen are grandchildren of the tyrant who rules Holand.  When events bring Mitt together with Hildy and Ynen, nothing turns out the way either group suspects, and both groups learn something about life for the other side.  Mitt has a big choice to make, but we won’t see how it all plays out until the fourth book of the Dalemark Quartet.

Although this is my least favorite of the four books, it’s still a good book, with an interesting look at both sides of the repression in South Dalemark that we first heard about in Cart and Cwidder.  Like in that book, the fantasy has mythic overtones, and we again get the feeling of ordinary people caught up in events bigger than themselves.  My son still asked for “one more chapter” every night.

Reviews of other books by Diana Wynne Jones:
Book One in the Dalemark Quartet: Cart and Cwidder
Book Two in the Dalemark Quartet:  The Spellcoats
Book Four in the Dalemark Quartet:  The Crown of Dalemark
Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin
Conrad's Fate
Unexpected Magic
The Merlin Conspiracy
Wild Robert
The Ogre Downstairs
Witch's Business

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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