Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Promise by Monica Hughes

Rania is looking forward to her tenth birthday. As the princess she receives many wonderful gifts, and one puzzling one: she is sent a box of sand from Roshan. Her parents explain that she has been claimed by Sandwriter, and must go to the desert of Roshan to be her apprentice. Unwillingly, she leaves her country and her family behind, and begins her new life with Sandwriter. She learns to understand the desert and her connection with it, but as years pass, Rania becomes lonely. But life as Sandwriter will always be lonely; if Rania can't learn to cope, will she be able to become the next Sandwriter?

The Promise is the sequel to Monica Hughes's Sandwriter, and I enjoyed it as much as its predecessor, and for all of the same reasons. This is mostly due to Hughes' technique: The Promise is developed through narrative, which makes it read almost like a fairy tale. Though it has few characters to carry the plot, it's a dynamic story. Rania is at the centre, with Sandwriter, her mysterious mentor, and Atbin, the wholesome village man, to either side. They pull Rania in different directions, and readers will enjoy seeing Rania struggle with their influences and her own misgivings.

I found The Promise to be less didactic than Sandwriter, because it doesn't have a message so much as a number of observations: you can't taste the sweet without the bitter, anything worth having is worth working for, nothing in life is free, and so on.

I recommend The Promise to fairy tale lovers and discerning YA readers.

Copy source: library
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format: hardcopy

View my suggested books by Monica Hughes

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