The Fatal Child by John Dickinson
Atti is the Fatal Child. Adored to obsession by every man she meets, Atti can't find happiness. Her childhood traumatised by treachery, murder and destruction, she's plagued by violent dreams which seem to predict an equally horrific future. But men will do anything for Atti. Thomas Padry, the Chancellor, plunges the land into chaos when he pursues her across the country, and loses his integrity as he does. Ambrose, the Christ-like wandering King, is equally tempted. He seizes power for love of Atti. And yet, Atti can love no one. And the love others bear for her may imperil any chance of lifting the curse of Beyah, the weeping goddess, and prevent peace ever returning to the kingdom.
|The Fatal Child by John Dickinson|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Third in a trilogy, this works wonderfully well as a stand-alone novel. It's rich, deep and doom-laden with big themes and a haunting style. Tremendous stuff.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 560||Date: November 2008|
|Publisher: David Fickling|
The Fatal Child is the third in a trilogy, following on from John Dickinson's Cup of the World and The Widow and the King. I haven't read either, but I didn't suffer. Atti's story works wonderfully well as a stand-alone novel and the worldbuilding is so deeply entwined with the narrative flow that there's no need for any tiresome exposition. The written has a fable-like quality which perfectly suits its medieval fantasy setting and although it does take a fair few pages to becoming completely absorbing - despite opening with a very bloody fight scene - once it's hooked you, you're lost in its world.
It's rich, deep and doom-laden with big themes and a haunting style. Many of the characters, however well-meaning, are fatally flawed, usually through unreasonable love of Atti, and you see their mistakes long before they do. It all had a very Hardy-esque feel about it. The fantastical elements, while present, are kept in the background - the things that propel this book are its characters, its inevitability, and the quality of its writing. I absolutely loved it.
The Fatal Child is a very sophisticated read thematically, and pitched perfectly at the young adult market, but there's enough action and plot for a keen-reading twelve-year-old to take a great deal from it. At the same time, there's more than enough depth to make it worth any adult's time. It may even give them pause for thought.
This one is highly recommended by Bookbag.
My thanks to the good people at David Fickling for sending the book.
Those who enjoy top-notch fantasy should also look at Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman. Younger children will enjoy Muddle and Win: the Battle for Sally Jones by John Dickinson.
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