Review – The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

Posted September 23, 2016 by Nicky in Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Cover of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan GarnerThe Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Alan Garner

Originally reviewed August 12th, 2009

I remember reading some of Alan Garner’s books when I was much younger. I found them creepy as hell then, and he certainly does know what kinds of images to evoke to have that feeling of danger and creepiness. There’s a lot of claustrophobia in this book — tunnels and water-filled passages and being packed in tight. There are parts of the description that are just brilliant.

The mythology aspects are pretty cool, too. The references to Ragnarok, etc. I don’t know whether it’s that whole ‘younger readers can accept the unnatural much better than adults’ thing that people mentioned when reading Diana Wynne Jones, though, but I found it hard to follow and it all piled in on top of everything else in a haphazard, difficult to process manner. Didn’t help that I read parts of it when everyone was around talking, and parts in a cafe, but I think part of it was the writing.

Overall it’s pretty fun, but the characters aren’t terribly well developed. I know it’s a trope of fantasy for younger readers that the kids get to tag along, and be equal to adults, etc, etc — I love The Dark is Rising, which is almost as guilty of it — but it makes me shriek, the way the adults easily accept the kids being dragged into it, and the way the kids seem to just… deal with it. Realism, you can not has it.

I’m going to read the sequel, since I have it, but I can’t say I exactly recommend it. It doesn’t come together very well for me, for all that bits of it are brilliant/cool/fun.

Rating: 3/5

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4 responses to “Review – The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

  1. I read this a couple of years ago (I got it from the library) and I was SO BORED. I wanted to give it a try because it’s supposed to be a classic, but I didn’t like it at all. But yeah, the claustrophobic tunnels were pretty creepy, I’d never want to be caught in a similar situation!

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