Book Cover
Title The Book Without Words
Series ---
Author Avi
Cover Art Tim Zulewski
Publisher Hyperion Books for Children - 2005
First Printing Hyperion Books for Children - 2005
Category Children
Warnings None

Main Characters

Sybil, Odo

Main Elements Wizards, Alchemy

The book without words is a volume of blank parchment pages - or so it might seem. But for a green-eyed reader filled with great desire, it may reveal the dark magic of Northumbria, including the forgotten arts of making gold and achieving immortality. For generations its magic has been protected from those who would exploit it. But on a terrible day of death and destruction, the Book Without Words falls into the hands of a desperate boy.

Seventy-three years later, that boy, Thorston, is an old man on the brink of realizing his dangerous dream - when he falls down, dead. Now his servant, Sybil, and his magical talking raven, Odo, must face their fate. With their master gone, will they be evicted into the cold, decaying streets of Fulworth to fend for themselves? Or can they somehow unlock the secrets of the Book Without Words? Sybil and Odo soon learn that nothing is as it appears to be: secrets are not secrets, gold is not gold. Most important of all, their master's death and their own lives are not certain.

Set in early medieval England and rich with mystery and atmopshere, this is a thought-provoking fable about life and death, greed and betrayal, magic and secrets.

I don't really have much to say about this book. It was OK, but I've read books by Avi I've enjoyed much more. To tell the truth, I didn't like any of the characters. They were all rather unpleasant people and I really didn't care if they succeeded in what they were attempting to do or not. Redeeming features in the characters were far and few between. They came off as a bunch of greedy children (and one bird) who seemed to want the gold for the sake of it. Not because it would make their life better, that I would understand, but they had such a pessimistic view of the world in which they felt they could do no better, they just wanted the gold. I think only in the last handful of pages did I actually take a bit of a liking to some of the characters, but only a little bit.

This makes is sound like a terrible book, but it wasn't, I've just read a lot of books that were better. I have also read a fair share that were worse. Maybe I was just expecting something else, the title of the book after was so very tantalizing.

I will say that the fact the master keeps dying, then popping back to life the next might was pretty funny. Especially as the kids freak out the first time, but then start sighing and thinking "here we go again" as they get used to dragging him down to the basement after he dies again. It is rather morbidly humorous to get into the routine of burying the same person day after day, hoping that he'll finally just stay there already.

Posted: September 2009


Background, images and content (unless otherwise noted) are SunBlind
Do not use without permission.