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BOOK REVIEWS: 'The Wildkin's Curse' reviewed by Finlay Mackenzie

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Wildkin's Curse by Kate Forsyth

Book Review by Finlay Mackenzie

 A tale of adventure, danger and magic, The Wildkin's Curse follows the story of Zedrin, Merry, and Liliana. Each is a member of a different race, which have been enemies for generations, yet the characters must travel together through the mythical land of Ziva to rescue Rozalina, a wildkin princess held captive by her father, the starkin prince Zander. She has the Tongue of Flame, the power to make wishes – or curses – come true, and every word she utters has the power to change the world around her. The Wildkin's Curse is about the power of words, the importance of friendship and the magic of stories.

 The story begins with Liliana arriving at the house of the Elrune, a powerful wildkin enchantress, where Zedrin and Merry are staying. The two boys are drawn into a quest to rescue Princess Rozalina with the Cloak of Feathers, a magical, yet damaged cloak that enables the wearer to fly. To repair the cloak, they must find a feather from an albatross, a raven, a nightingale, a swan, a pelican, an eagle and an owl to repair the cloak. 

Yet discord is spreading through the starkin court, and the three heroes are running out of time to save the wildkin princess. The adventure gains urgency and desperation as the characters each become involved in their own personal tangle of events, which they each must work through in order to save Rozalina.

 The characters themselves symbolise certain traits and emotions that are present in almost every person, especially adolescents, making The Wildkin's Curse relevant for this age group. 

Born into a powerful starkin family and heir to the county of Estelliana, Zedrin represents skill, confidence and security, for he is physically powerful and knows his place in the world. He also represents fear and confusion, for he lives with a dark prophecy hanging over him. 

Merry represents sadness, yet happiness at the same time. His father was drowned by starkin soldiers and his mother is the leader of the hearthkin rebel forces, so Merry faces the challenges of adolescence and the quest to rescue Rozalina alone. He has the Tongue of the Heavens, the power to speak with birds – the symbols of freedom. 

Liliana represents courage, determination and strength, especially for girls, as she is the character who always wishes to push on with the quest, no matter the losses – to others or to herself. She also represents loneliness and insecurity, for as an orphan, she was brought up by an old servant of the wildkin royal family, yet she appears to crave company, stating that she often climbs the cliff near her home to see the eagles. At the beginning of the book, she sees emotions such as love as a weakness, although her opinion changes as the story continues....

 The Wildkin's Curse is a brilliant book for all ages, especially adolescents, due to the age and nature of the characters. It is gripping, powerfully written and intensely exciting, and will be thoroughly enjoyed by those who cherish fantasy books. 

Kate Forsyth transports the reader into Ziva and has them live the adventure with the characters through her vivid descriptions, daring plot and the magical beauty of the words she weaves so skilfully throughout the book. The Wildkin's Curse is a powerful story that will leave you wishing for more and feeling as if you were as much a part of the adventure as any of the main characters.

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