Title: Keturah and Lord Death
Author: Martine Leavitt
Publisher: Front Street
Course Theme for the Week: Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction & Fantasy (03-30-2011)
Date Read: 03-28-2011
Overall: * * * * (4/5)
GoodReads Blurb: "I will tell you . . . a story of magic and love, of daring and death, and one to comfort your heart. It will be the truest story I have ever told. Now listen, and tell me if it is not so."
After following a hart into the woods bordering her town, Keturah is faced with Death. Lost and hungry after following a stately hart through the forest, Keturah encounters Lord Death, who is ready to take her. Like Scheherazade, Keturah spins a story that she leaves unfinished and extracts from Lord Death a promise that if she finds her true love in a day, she can go free. Thus begins Keturah's search for her one true love and the salvation of her beloved town. But Lord Death is falling in love with her, and as the villagers begin to sense her alliance with this horrifying figure, her life twists and turns on itself.
Martine Leavitt offers a spellbinding story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance. The romance is intense, the writing is startling, and the story is spellbinding--and it is as difficult to turn away from as the tales beautiful Keturah tells to the people of her village, Tide-by-Rood.
My Review: This book read very much like a fairy tale. The language was simple, and the characters were rather flat, but it felt like it was on purpose, as this was the style and type of story Leavitt wanted to use. It was a very easy read, and I think would be more appealing for middle-grade readers than high school level.
I liked the message that only when faced with death did Keturah really try to live her life and love her town and friends for who they were. I have to say, I was really rooting for Keturah and John the whole time, and was disappointed that my first instincts were correct about who Keturah would find to be her true love. I'm not sure what kind of message it sends that her true love was Lord Death. I also didn't really like the quick summaries of all of her friends' lives at the end, and I'm unsure of how the beginning worked into the ending. Was it Keturah telling the story? And if so, to whom?
I did like this story, I just had a few minor problems, but I think young adults ages 11-14 could really get a lot out of this story. It's a nice fantasy/fairy tale book, and the quality of writing is very high.
Currently Reading: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum
Books read in 2o11: 32 (of 100)