Author Tina Howe has outdone herself in her magical, creative, and realistic fantasy novel of one girl's courage in the face of prejudice and adversity. An entire world complete with religions, cultures, and original creatures comes to life in "Alysa of the Fields: Book One in the Tellings of Xunar-kun." Alysa is a character readers-both male and female- will embrace. She is far from perfect; she makes mistakes but she learns from them. She has courage to continue on despite her fears and others' opposition. Alysa will remind children and adults, as Howe herself states, "that a champion lives inside each one of us."
Alysa of the Fields: Book One in the Tellings of Xunar-kun
Booklocker.com, Inc. (2006)
Reviewed by (age 14) for Reader Views (4/08)
“Alysa of the Fields” begins when Alysa, a young Field Folk woman, is crying by a stream. She lives on the alien world of Xunar-kun. Three-thousand years ago a great event called the Cataclysm took place, ravaging the land and killing most of the inhabitants of the world. One of the few remaining groups, the homesteaders, was led, just before the cataclysm, to the mountains where they remained safe since that day. Years later, when Alysa’s father died, she becomes a trader. The trader’s job is to trade with the wondering nomadic tribe of the Trailmen. After becoming lost in the snow and being rescued by one of the tribesmen, she learns that they are not indeed savages, but intelligent and skillful people with origins close to their own. Now, when children are being snatched by mutants from the cataclysm, Alysa must go, with no survival knowledge whatsoever, on a long journey to find these people and request eight.
Tina Field Howe writes so exquisitely, though targeted at girls, male readers can find some enjoyment. While it takes time to get into, “Alysa the Fields” will enrapture you and you will be unable to put it down. Readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic events, cultural exchanges and unlikely heroes, will almost certainly enjoy this book. Be sure to read Book Two in the “Tellings of Xunar-kun.”