Monday, July 13, 2009

Bad Picture, Good Book

Sherwood Smith only lives part-time on Earth. She spends the rest of her life in the world she has been imagining since her childhood, a world with complex nations and continents and cultures, and one which she brings back to us through her books, which range over hundreds of years and thousands of miles across her globe.

Stranger to Command links two series, the Crown Duel books and the Inda books. Set among the Marlovan cadets (like the first Inda book, although several generations or more apart), Vidanric from Crown Duel learns to fight and to lead. He's a stranger among the other cadets, the only foreigner allowed in the academy, and he finds the modes of command difficult to accept ethically. I liked how the young kids struggled both with loneliness, tough physical challenges, and ethical dilemmas. Sherwood has a habit of writing children and youths who with insanely high potentials and the drive to achieve their goals. I like books like that, so I don't mind the high quotient of uber-kids.

I was hesitant to link to the cover, which I regard as one of the ugliest pictures in the library, but I thought I'd better warn people. The boy in the text is much more sympathetic than the Legolas wanna-be on the cover. B+.

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