March 13, 2011

Review - Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (audiobook)

Description from Goodreads

"In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom."

This story continues the adventures of Isabel and Curzon, this time from Curzon's point of view. For some reason, I just didn't connect as much to Curzon as I did to Isabel in the first book. For a large chunk at the beginning of the book I kept wondering what had happened to Isabel! But Curzon himself was wondering the same thing, and he eventually found out. The circumstances that brought them back together seemed a little coincidental to me, but I can see how it was necessary for the storyline. 

Anderson clearly did her research as she inserted her characters into real events in history. I love how each chapter began with a historical quote from a primary source, and I appreciated that the characters spoke with authentic dialogue for the time period. Listening to the audiobook version of Forge was interesting because the narrator did an excellent job of portraying a young soldier's experience. 

This is a great book for young readers who are want to learn what it might have been like to live during the Revolutionary War. It brings history alive with strong characters and accurate historical details. The only downside of the audiobook is that it doesn't include the appendix that the print version has which helps readers distinguish fact from fiction, find further resources for research, and learn the meaning of the colloquial phrases used in the novel. 


Peaceful Reader said...

I really enjoyed Chains and so looked forward to the sequal. I had the same reaction as you-"Where is Isabel?" but I began to enjoy Curzon's tale as it offers a new perspective of soldiering during the Civil War.

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