Kristen Payne, Odyssey Review
herodyssey.blogspot.com, April 23, 2009
I have now had this book FOREVER! And finally made it through all 600+ pages. Did it take me this long because it was slow or boring? Not at all! It took me that long because it was simply too big to fit in my purse.
Beowulf has long been one of my favorite stories of all time. In eighth grade we had to read the original poem in old English. Even though the language made me want to cry, I still loved the story. I have read and re-read various translations, and stylizations of the tale over the years. There is nothing more thrilling to me than following Beowulf and his men as they face the beast Grendel, then have to do battle with the Sea Witch and finally at the end of his life, to do battle with the Dragon. But in this book there is so much more to the story, so many little gaps filled in, more back story and so much more life to it.
This book, though huge and daunting to look at - is FANTASTIC. If you have ever wanted to read Beowulf, but hated the idea of ancient English verse - THIS is the book you need to read. Honest to the source material, and simple to read and comprehend without a translation key. Even if you love the tale in verse, you should still pick up a copy of this book and re-read it, the story and the character are given a whole new life. Beowulf becomes what we imagined he was between the lines of the old poem.
I have one complaint - and it should give you an idea of how much I love this book - The cover does not do it justice. This book should at least have a faux-leather cover, an epic tale like this deserves better then the 1980's Dungeons and Dragons looking cover it currently has. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
5 of 5 medallions.
Kristen is the one who mentioned to me in an earlier correspondence that she thought the cover art reminded her too much of the old D&D cartoons, and I can't argue with her there. I just happen to like that old D&D art. But I would also love to see it bound it leather, and can only hope one day it might achieve that lofty status. For now I'm more than satisfied with reviews like this, knowing there are readers who enjoy the story.
I should note that Kristen posted two other reviews as well, giving 4 stars to Homer's Iliad and only 3 to Neil Gaimon's Mirrormask. A personal note was also posted on my Goodread's page today, in which she said:
EXCELLENT job on the book - I loved it. Though I hate to do it, I donated it to a local school; I think it will get the reading it deserves there.I'm grateful to Kristen for doing this, and hope it finds and inspires many young readers there.