- Dragonfy Song by Wendy Orr
ISBN 978-1-77278-037-6 $17.95 R Gr. 5-8
Aissa was destined to take over her mother's priestess duties, but since she was born with extra thumbs on each hand (which her father then cut off), she was deemed unfit and the village wise woman was charged with killing the infant. Instead, she placed her with a loving family from a remote outpost. Now Aissa's a teenager, her adoptive mother has been taken by raiders, and she has returned to her home village as an anonymous girl called "No-Name." There she becomes an abused servant until she is chosen by the goddess as one of the tributes to be offered to the Bull King. Loosely inspired by the story of the Minotaur, this is a thoughtful reimagining of the rituals involved in Bronze Age worship and belief, with the plot taking several fascinating turns that showcase the various vocations involved in village life. The narrative style shifts between straightforward, lyrical prose and imagistic free-verse poetry, a technique that infuses the story with a dreamlike atmosphere. Both forms advance the action, but the poetry enhances the sense of intimacy by focusing attention on Aissa's impressionistic views of the world and her sense of isolation among the people who fear, bully, and reject her. Her ultimate triumph is credibly compromised, making this an unusually thoughtful offering in the middle-school mythology genre.