Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Letter for the King By Tonke Dragt

The Letter for the King was first published in 1962 in the Netherlands, but it took until 2013 for it to be translated into English by Laura Watkinson. Now on 3rd September 2015, its sequel The Secrets of the Wild Wood will also be translated, many years after its publication in the Netherlands back in 1965.
Learning more about Dragt while reading was great too, she’s really inspirational. Born in Indonesia, she was imprisoned in a Japanese war camp, writing her first book on any paper she could find before moving to the Netherlands after the war. In 1976 she won the State Prize for Youth Literature before being knighted in 2001.

Surprisingly, Id never heard of The Letter for the King until very recently, despite its million copy bestseller status, but I’m very glad I got the chance to read it. I think my biggest worry for this book was that the translation wouldn’t be very good. The writing in translated novels I have read before sometimes didn’t flow well. Different languages have different sayings and some of those in English can be awkward to read. Watkinson did a magnificent job translating, it was seamless and a joy to read.

The story begins as the protagonist Tiuri is staying the night with his friends in a church. He must stay the whole night, not speaking to anyone before he can gain his knighthood in the morning. But someone knocks frantically on the door, desperate for his help. The man instructs him that he must deliver an important letter across the mountains to the King there. Tiuri has to abandon everything to do this, and of course, it’s not an easy journey…

Dragt captures the spirit of being a teenage boy extremely well; he’s inexperienced and impatient at times, but very loveable. The kingdoms of Unauwen and Dagonaut are vast and vivid and with the maps in the front of the book, you can keep track of Tirui’s journey without feeling lost and allow you to paint an even better picture of the world in your head.
Tiuri’s story is an instant classic, its one that you will want to return to again and again, filled with medieval fantasy elements. The Letter for the King is a wonderful coming of age story, Tiuri grows over the course of the book, learning to make his own decisions and finding courage as he transports his secret letter across the land.

Gripping and fantastical, it’s a must read.
I highly recommend you pick up The Letter for the King, so that when Secrets of the Wild Wood is released, you can grab it straight away.

4.5 stars.

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

My top 5 things about:


  1. The authors – I thought id just make this a general point otherwise my top 5 things would just be the names of authors. All the authors who went to YALC were so happy to be there to talk about their books and so lovely to speak to. I got so many books signed that I just love to take off my shelves and look at.

  1. The people – It was absolutely THE best thing to get to meet fellow book-lovers. Every one was so excited to talk to each other. YALC is so important to allow book-lovers to meet and make friends. When I was in school no one read books, I was the odd one out. I’d rather go to a book signing than on a night out drinking. YALC allows you to meet people who are just as passionate and not feel like the odd one out as you and make lifelong friends to talk over Twitter etc. You see you’re not alone in your love and it’s an amazing thing. I hope YALC continued to grow and grow.

  1. The cosplays – There were some AMAZING cosplays walking around, from Shadowhunters to the Walking Dead cast to Voldemort, there was everything. So much time and effort had gone into costumes and it totally paid off. It made me want to up my game for next year (I went as Celaena Sardothien this year).

  1. FREE STUFF – FREE STUFF EVERYWHERE. I just grabbed it alllll.

  1. The openness – YALC was a floor above London Film and Comic Con and boy was it packed down there. It was hot and loud and very cramped in places. Sometimes there were big queues just to use the stairs. But in YALC it was open, you had room to breathe, and not too cramped so it didn’t get too hot. There were places to sit, which I thought was brilliant to help people who suffer from anxiety, they really catered for everyone.