I think I love this new format. It means I can systemically work through my reading list to highlight here. Of course, it also brings up the fact that many of my selections have trickled down to me via mysterious and unknown recommenders, who are, most likely, either Nancy Pearl or myself. So while I’d like to provide a good reason for why I want to read The Book of Knights, I don’t remember why it’s on my list beyond “it sounded cool”.
The Book of Knights by Yves Meynard
Young Adelrune is a likable little boy oppressed by his strict stepparents, who are in turn under the thumb of a narrow and harsh religious rule. Finding privacy in his step parents’ attic before he has even learned to read, Adelrune discovers a dusty copy of The Book of Knights. The pictures enchant him and obsess him to the point where he is motivated to learn to read, so that he can have access to the words of this secret treasure as well. The years of his young childhood are made bearable by the ideas and images of the book, and he resolves to run away and become a knight – a story that will enchant readers the way Adelrune himself was charmed and entertained.
It’s coming back a bit—perhaps I’m interested because Adelrune goes through something similar to the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, another story where a child is aged up to fight on the side of good. I think this, like the game, won’t explore that too much, but… you never know!
Ex-blogger William Lexner places it on his top 100 list of seminal SFF. James Seidman at the SF Site enjoyed it, but found the style occupying a weird space between adult and young adult. Danielle L. Parker at Bewildering Stories adored it and wants Meynard to write more in English (he’s French-Canadian). James Schellenberg at Challenging Destiny liked it, especially the lightness and originality of Meynard’s work.
The Book of Knights was published in January of 1998.