Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: Kingdom on the Waves by M. T. Anderson

Lynn: Astonishing indeed. The brilliance of this book overwhelmed me. The characters and themes are etched in my soul and the deeply ironic injustice portrayed in the story broke my heart so that it will never completely mend nor should it. Anderson has given us a masterpiece that should be required reading in every senior English class in America.

While still perfectly reflecting Octavian’s scholarly writing style in the first book, this book is perhaps more accessible than the first with vivid battle scenes and short vignettes of the soldiers of the Ethiopian regiment. There is such depth and richness to this narrative and Anderson never loses control of a single element. I am not on the Printz committee nor have I reread as that group is doing, but this book tops my personal best list this year.
Cindy: This book and its prequel leaves me speechless. Well, almost. I'd love to see a gold Printz sticker on this come January. This duet makes us reflect on liberty, freedom, and property and to view our nation's history through a slightly different lens. Teens looking for a challenging but rewarding read will not be disappointed. I'll never forget Lynn's story of the 8th grader who heard her booktalk this and took a chance on it. When he returned it, he said, "Finally, an author who knows that teens have a brain!"