I finally finished this blasted book! I thought I’d enjoy reading a classic of children’s fantasy but holy cow, this was torture. Firstly, I thought there was a lot in the story that really didn’t need to be there. For example, I didn’t think the grandmother needed to be in the story at all. I think I might even like it more if she hadn’t been there. I think having her instigate the rescues took away from my high opinion of Irene’s awesomeness as a young woman.
The beginning of the book dealing with Irene and her grandmother was especially painful to march through. The story only started to get interesting when Irene set out to find Curdie on her own. I liked that she was independent and brave enough to march into the mountain and rescue him, even if she was following her grandmother’s thread the whole time. I also like that she saves herself at the end of the book rather than being rescued by Curdie or the king’s guards.
I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel anytime soon (if ever). While I appreciate its value as one of the first fantasy novels written for children, I didn’t like this one enough to recommend it to others to read for pleasure. My rating: 2/5