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The Ropemaker (PB) - Peter Dickinson It was interesting to contrast this enjoyable, well-written YA fantasy book with Ursula LeGuin's "Voices," which I read recently. Both deal with a pair of young people from a remote, isolated valley, and their families.
While both situation and family are, in LeGuin's view, unrelentingly negative, to Dickinson, this situation is just positive as positive can be... as a matter of fact, the whole point of the book is that the young people and their grandparents must go on a quest to find a magician to preserve the spells that keep their valley isolated, cut off from the larger, socially and politically oppressive empire beyond....
LeGuin took the opposite view altogether, where the young people had to attempt to escape the oppressiveness of the backwards, backwater valley and get out to the wider world to grow...
As I said, however, Dickinson's writing was fun and the story enjoyable - but I did find myself questioning some of his situations.... probably because it's a YA book, and he didn't want to really get into them. But having a young teen boy and girl who obviously like each other go on a long trip together - and have NO sexual tension develop was unrealistic. And, having two very elderly people experience a magical spell that makes them both teens again, to have them fall in love - and then to have them voluntarily give that up and choose to become old again, without a whole lot of agony, is also totally unrealistic.