Written by: Pearl North
Genre: Science Fantasy
Pages: 316 (Hardcover)
Series: Book Two (ongoing?)
The premise: ganked from BN.com: The magical sequel to Pearl North’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Libyrinth.
On a world light-years away, Earth is long forgotten, except for the knowledge protected in the vast libyrinth. But that knowledge was threatened by the Singers, who for generations beyond remembering have relied on oral storytelling. They sought to destroy the books in the libyrinth, which they thought would--if read--kill the words they sing, and the knowledge in their songs.
Now a Song has created peace between the Singers and the Libyrarians who work in the libyrinth. However, the libyrinth is quickly running out of food, and the survival of the ancient edifice and those who serve it may depend on Po, a young Ilysian who has had trouble adjusting to life at the libyrinth. Caught between his longings for acceptance and the Machiavellian tactics of his queen, Po is tricked into a crime that causes him to be cast out. He may return only if he retrieves a legendary artifact that may be the answer to all of the libyrinth’s problems . . . or could turn the world into a barren, lifeless ruin. For Po, life has finally become exciting . . . but the cost may be his life, and the lives of those he loves.
Must Have: based on the structure of the series so far, North's work is reminding me of Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books, in that so far, each title has a different narrator and a unique feel based on said narrator. Another comparison to Turner is that reading North's series makes you forget you're reading YA, due to the maturity level of the characters and their experiences. This especially holds true for The Boy from Ilysies, which constantly surprised me. As to whether or not you must read Libyrinth before this one, I'll be honest: I think you can read this as a stand alone. BUT!!! I'm anal about chronological order and think you'll get more out of this book if you read Libyrinth first. And if you've already read Libyrinth, now that the structure and style of this sequel is quite different, and I mean that in a good way. I tore through this book in a day and was quite enamored of the story, and I'm not just saying that because I know the author (my track record tends to run the opposite way: if I know the author, I'm harder on the book). This is a wonderfully enjoyable YA series that I can't wait to continue.
Review style: I talk a lot about the progression of the series and how it's structured, as well as North's talent for giving us what appear to be simple situations that bloom into fascinating complexity. I talk about both this book and its predecessor, Libyrinth, but never fear: NO SPOILERS. For the full review, just click the link below to my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Pearl North's THE BOY FROM ILYSIES
Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!
November: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
December: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
January: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold