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Elske : A Book Review

With immense power and compassion, Cynthia Voigt, Newbery Medalist, depicts the quests of two extraordinary young women. As Elske seeks to find her true self and Beriel battles to reclaim what is rightfully hers, both discover the value, and the price, of reaching the journey“s end.

The latest addition to Cynthia Voigt“s Kingdom series. Elske offers a heroine who is very much her own person.

Even though Elske has been chosen to be the Death Maiden of the Volkking, she escapes to begin life. Elske makes her way to the trading city Trastadt, despite being a servant and an outsider, her honesty, intelligence, and good humour bring respect and friendship.

Just when most fiction for young adults would have Elske marry the master of the house (whose children she cared for while their mother suffered from a lingering sickness) Voigt takes Elske down a different path. Since she refuses to marry anyone, she is sent to be the handmaid of the defiant princess Beriel. Elske“s most difficult adventure begins.

Beriel has been sent to Trastadt to marry. In her kingdom the oldest child, male or female, may inherit the throne. Beriel“s younger brother has usurped her position and exiled her. How he manages to do this is not for the squeamish, nor for young readers.

Voigt does the unthinkable, she gives the reader not one, but two strong young women to share the pages of her book. Lesser writers would not be able to accomplish it. Voigt is able to bring Elske and Beriel together in an uncommon relationship. They are never servant and master, and never truly friends. But, there is a bond between them. One of deepest trust. Elske“s lack of knowledge of the world sometimes causes her trouble, but never embarrassment, for her actions are rarely for herself.

This books is for the more sophisticated, thoughtful reader. Mature themes are an integral part of Elske“s journey. Recommended for young adults.

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