Happy belated release day to LIBYRINTH, which is the wonderful debut novel from my client, Pearl North. I could tell you how incredibly good this novel is,but I thought it'd be better to let the critical reviews speak for themselves. Suffice it to say, this is the novel I would want my daughters to read instead of TWILIGHT. If I had teenage daughters, that is. =)
Reviews start here!
Publisher's Weekly, July 6, 2009:
Libyrinth Pearl North. Tor Teen, $17.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2096-4
In this complex and rewarding novel set on a decaying, far-future colonial world that barely remembers Earth, Haly is an apprentice Libyrarian, dedicated to protecting the countless books housed in the enormous and decrepit maze known as the Libyrinth. Opposed to her order are the Eradicants, a powerful civilization that defines books as evil. When Haly—who has the ability to hear the contents of books, letters and other pieces of writing without reading them—learns that the Eradicants have discovered the location of the near-mythical tome, The Book of the Night, which “held the secrets of the Ancients, all of their machines and miracles,” she sets off to recover it and save her society. Among this novel's pleasures are the many anonymous quotations scattered throughout, snatches of prose that Haly hears as she goes about her chores, from such sources as Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, Charlotte's Web and Fahrenheit 451, all of which are carefully identified at the end. The complex moral issues posed by this thoughtful and exciting tale are just as fascinating. Ages 13–up. (July)
North, Pearl (author).
July 2009. 336p. Tor, hardcover, $17.95 (9780765320964). Grades 8-11.
REVIEW. First published June 17, 2009 (Booklist Online).
Haly, clerk to the Libyrarian Selene, can hear books. As the Libyrarians care for and study the books in the Libyrinth, the Eradicants uphold their belief that books are evil by burning them, and Haly experiences both great joy and terrible sorrow in the books’ living and dying voices. In an Earth-based future where those who protect the books of the Ancients are at war with those who believe they should be destroyed, Haly holds firmly with the Libyrarians until she sets off with Selene and her friend, Clauda, to save a very important book and finds things are not quite as they seem—including her own identity and purpose. Although rough in spots and a bit too tidy in the wrap-up, this is a complex and imaginative tale for sophisticated readers who enjoy fantasy and science fiction. An interesting twist on the themes of societal opposition and integration, and perhaps an intriguing companion to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
From Kirkus (and it's good too!):
Author: North, Pearl
Review Date: JUNE 15, 2009
Price (hardback): $17.95
Publication Date: 7/1/2009 0:00:00
ISBN (hardback): 978-0-7653-2096-4
This complex novel depicts the final conflict between major subcultures of an Earth colony long divorced from its origins. Fifteen-year-olds Haly and Clauda and their slightly older companion Selene pursue the long-lost Book of the Night hoping to provide redemption for their deeply divided society. The novel combines many science-fiction tropes—the quest, dystopian governments, degenerated society—into a clever, original story. The page-turner plot and themes of the abuses of authority, the nature of prejudice and the power of the written word provide the primary focus. The main characters, all strong, individualized young women, are convincingly drawn, but some of the secondary cast are hard to differentiate. Who cares? The dramatic, satisfying climax and deftly handled resolution of the many plot threads will convince and exhilarate readers. Some mature language and frank discussions of sexual relations (though no descriptions) will age this up. Give it to readers of William Nicholson's books, the His Dark Materials trilogy and teens who loved The Giver. A bibliographic "Guide to Quotations" nicely wraps up this book-lover's delight. (Science fiction. 12-15)
LIBYRINTH is available at many fine bookstores near you, and you can also purchase it online at Amazon.