The Dalemark Quartet
I can’t recommend Diana Wynne Jones enough. She writes YA Fantasy that, thus far, I have found to be creative and clean. She has two major gifts I have seen thus far beyond creating amazing worlds. One, she manages to always make things that seem mundane at the beginning of the story important at the end. Even when I try to watch for it she still amazes me with her subtle weaving. Two, she often grows her characters from small children to young adults not only by growing them through plot but through word choice and perception.
I wish I had discovered her years ago. She is by far one of the most wonderful YA writers I have ever read.
In the Dalemark Quartet she not only goes into the past but into the future interweaving the lives of several families and children together, bringing characters you love to their points of importance in Dalemark history in Book 4. I particularly liked the heroines of this story. They are strong but not unrealistically so. The final heroine was very real. She wanted to be stronger and she also wanted someone to protect her. She reminded me much of myself at 13.
The third book catches you off guard as it is set in the distant past. Never fear, Book 4 makes the story of prehistoric Dalemark vitally important. If you are unable to read all four books together, avail yourself of the Glossary at the end of Book 4 to remind yourself of places and people.
My only point of complaint of Book 4, and it’s not really a complaint, is the skipping about of the Point of View once all the main characters are together. It slowed the flow of reading down quiet a bit. On the other hand, it did continually remind you that this whole story is about these three people. It just took some time to adjust to the writing style.
The Dalemark Quartet was wonderful, fun, and creative as it told the past, present, and future stories of a land caught up in a civil war and the children who changed history.
Parental Warning: There are a few cuss words in Book 4, three I think. There is a fantastical religion. And, some of the themes are also dark as you would expect for a story set during a time of political unrest. Overall, an excellent story for young to middle teens.