June 14, 2012

Dragons in the Waters by Madeline L'Engle

I love L'Engle, she's one of my favorite writers. And most of her novels are quite good. So when I rate this one three stars, really it is in relation to her other works, not that it is actually a mere average book. It simply isn't as good as her other ones.

Dragons in the Waters introduces us to Simon. Having lived with his 90 year old great aunt for several years, Simon has grown used to being poor, but rich in education as she is a very smart lady. But now she's releasing him to go on a trip with a cousin who has bought an expensive heirloom painting from them. Simon doesn't trust the cousin much, but he'll get to experience a little bit of the world and have some adventure. Along the way he meets Poly and Charles O'Keefe who will be traveling on the same boat. They become fast friends which is fortunate when dangerous things and murder start happening on the boat. Simon is in trouble, but being stuck at sea there really isn't a lot he can do about it.

Simon was ok as a character. It was hard to connect to him compared to L'Engle's other characters in her books. He was likable I guess, just not relatable. Poly was a little better. She was a bit of a show off and just seemed like one of those really good friends you roll your eyes at once in awhile. Charles, like most of L'Engle's characters named Charles, was just a bit different with a "gift" of sorts. All I can say is, whoever the real Charles was must have been a very special person. The bad guys weren't around much in this book. They stayed in the back story and as such weren't as menacing as they could have been.

This book kind of drug on a little bit. Sure there was some excitement, but a lot of things were just implausible. For instance, I never really could figure out why the cousin even wanted to take Simon along. And the explanations in the book just didn't really cover that well. The dialogue between all the characters was just a little more stilted as well, although I love how L'Engle has the children talk like real people with a brain in their heads. It's refreshing. The plot was decent, it involved a lot of intriguing facts and ideas that aren't commonly used in books. I appreciate the uniqueness of it.

Not a bad book by any means but not one of L'Engle's better ones. I still enjoy reading anything by her though.

Dragons in the Waters
Copyright 1976
330 pages

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