Cart and Cwidder tells the story of a family of singers: Clennen, the larger-than-life lead singer and father, Lenina, the cool, calm highborn mother, Dagner, the talented but shy eldest son, Brid, the impetuous, talkative daughter and Moril, the dreamy youngest son. The family is happy enough, traveling around the country between North and South boundaries, performing for various towns and villages along the way. But when they take on a traveler, Kialan, to take him to the North, their happy life starts to unravel. Clennen is suddenly murdered in the woods. Lenina marries the nobleman she was engaged to before she ran off with Clennen. Dagner tries to continue his father's spy work and ends up in jail. Brid thinks that she is more clever than she is and leads the evil Tholian to Kialan, who is really the duke's son. It is left to Moril to try and muddle his way through, half awake, half dreaming, and learn how to play the magicial cwidder that his father left him.
The author has a nice story to tell and it unfolds rather well, but is kind of abrupt in parts. The beginning of the book is a little slower paced, but once the ball gets rolling, it gets faster and faster and faster and never slows down again. I thought that it would have been nice to have a little more plot development, a little more time to tell the story. However, I do understand that this is a children's/young adult's book and it is a good length for them to read. The main reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the rather detached way that the story is told. Everything is in third person and I sometimes felt that the characters weren't feeling anything. This may be intentional, as Moril is a rather dreamy and detached character and tends to distance himself from circumstances in the real world, but it made the story less than it could have been. It would have been nice to have a more active feel to the story as a whole. Still, I think that most younger readers will enjoy this book. It is also a good introduction to fantasy for teens and children as it takes place in a place that seems normal with touches of magic here and there.
This report prepared by Debbie