Hi blookunity. Today, yet again, we are doing ’tis the season of rereading. This is an original new/old blog feature on weavingwaveswords in which we reread a book, review it, and (optional) talk about why we reread it/what was better or worse the first time. Today, I’m doing The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibboston. PS. Yummy photos to come, so keep reading.
Title: The Dragonfly Pool
Author: Eva Ibboston
Genre: MG Historical/WWII
Themes: Friendship, determination, boarding school, dancing in a made up country (just kidding)
Synopsis: Tally Hamilton is furious to hear she is being sent from London to a horrid, stuffy boarding school in the countryside. And all because of the stupid war. But Delderton Hall is a far more” “unusual and ” interesting” place than Tally ever imagined, and she soon falls in love with its eccentric staff and pupils. Now she’s even organizing an exciting school trip to the kingdom of Bergania . . . although Tally never expected to meet the “prince.”
Prince Karil hates his life at the palace and he is only truly happy when he escapes to the dragonfly pool, a remote spot in the forests of Bergania. Then Karil meets a feisty English girl who brings the promise of adventure. But his country is under threat, and the prince soon looks to his new friend Tally for survival as well as friendship . . .
According to library records, I read this book in August/September 2013.
I reread this at a perfect time and loved it so, so, much. Allow me to explain why.
Last week, Shanti said you don’t reread things for the plot. That’s usually true. However, I am a very (very, very) forgetful munchkin. So I forgot most of this book’s plot, which made it interesting. I would remember some of it a few chapters before, but other parts utterly surprised me. This made me interested, but also felt familiar, so not overly suspenseful. (I’m not a huge suspense fan)
Yet my basic memory of the plot made me appreciate the foreshadowing and attention to detail. I don’t think it was just because I was rereading that I saw plot events coming. Subtle, interesting hints were interspersed throughout the text.In fact, what I appreciated most was the attention to detail. There were a lot of characters, very few of whom were important, and quite a few settings and background information, but I didn’t feel overloaded. After all, real life is filled with characters who aren’t that important- classmates you did a group project with, people who sell candy in your favourite shop- and details- the colour of the toy your grandmother made you or the smell of mashed potatoes for dinner- and background information (which really needs no examples). For example, we hear from a thug called Earless (Belinda is his wife)
‘Earless was sitting on his bed, which sagged under his weight, and worrying about Belinda. There was a man who served in the corner shop at the bottom of their street at home who smiled at Belinda in a way which Earless did not like. He thought of writing to Belinda and warning her, but reading and writing were very difficult for him and as so often before he thought about how different thing should have been if he still had his other ear. The man in the corner shop wouldn’t have had a chance if Earless had both his ears’.
These details were utterly unnecessary to the story, but they gave the enemy a face. In many books, especially children’s books like this one, the bad guy is a bad guy you can hate. But this made it more complex, and I thought that was wonderful.
One of the settings is a made up kingdom called Bergania. Another is the Devon countryside, and another is London. They’re all well described, and just seem real. But again, it didn’t feel like an info dump. It just made it feel like they were there.
And the characters were just amazing. Tally and Karil were the main characters, but the secondary characters- Julia, Tally’s friend, Matteo, their bio teacher, The Scold, Karil’s aunt, Daley, the headmaster. Kit, who just wants to go home- all were really interesting. Tally in a way was uninteresting in that she was entirely good, but Karil’s struggles with being a prince and what it meant were extremely interesting. Both Tally and Karil’s development was wonderful.
Also, a shoutout to the epilogue. This was a MG book, but the last scene between Tally and Karil at the dragonfly pool satisfied my fangirl dreams without being romantic. It was so nice to see the characters as people my age, and gave a sense of finality to the end of the book.
Life update: Oh yeah, Shanti and I and a friend made gingerbread in the weekend. Here are more (book free) photos to make you hungry.
Weather: December, weirdly, has lovely weather. It’s cold, so we’re enjoying fires, and there’s a winterline (cold Himalayan air hits smoggy city air- there’s a fake sunset.) I was going to do pictures of last Tuesday’s interline, but today’s sunset was amazing, so you’re getting treated. On the other side of the hills, we can see some nice 6000 metre himalayas, which you also get to see because you’re lucky. (Also, apparently I can’t do panoramas straight. If not for this small flaw, the bottom would have been my favourite)