Book: Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
Release Date: May 1st 2007
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In the dead of night, a cloaked figure drags a heavy box through snow-covered streets. The chest, covered in images of mythical beasts, can only be opened when the fangs of its serpent’s-head clasp taste blood.
Centuries later, in an Oxford library, a boy touches a strange book and feels something pierce his finger. The volume is blank, wordless, but its paper has fine veins running through it and seems to quiver, as if it’s alive. Words begin to appear on the page–words no one but the boy can see.
And so unfolds a timeless secret . . . .
Endymion Spring is a book that I bought cheaply because of the cover. Let’s be honest here, that cover is rather interesting with a dragon on it. But other than that I had no idea about this at all when I started it. And overall I was pleasantly surprised.
‘Some books stayed with you long after you read them; they lingered in the unswept corners of your mind.’
This book is a middle grade book that easily sweeps you up in its world with Blake and his younger sister Duck (and no that is not her real name). They are staying in Oxford with their mother while their father remained back home, far away. It is clear from the start that their parents are having troubles in their marriage and the book shows what an effect this can have on children and their relationships with their parents without this book feeling emotional heavy. It is still there though. The undertone. I enjoyed that. It was realistic and the wrap up to this in the book was also realistic. Not completely wrapped up with a nicely little bow and I think that is important. Things like that aren’t easily fixed but some events can give a little nudge in the right direction. Only the insinuation of there possibly being another man was not necessary.
But moving on to the overall plot of this book. Blake finds a blank book in the library one day and this triggers various events, putting his sister and him in the middle of a dangerous plot. The story is divided in to two parts. We follow Blake in our current time in Oxford and Endymion in the 1500s that is for the most part in Mainz. Endymion and Blake’s link is of course the blank book. Certain things and information appear in both timelines that give recognition. The plot was easily to flow and be taken in with. There was also a clear appreciation for books throughout this book that was so easy to love.
Having said that I feel that there was so much potential in this world that wasn’t taken advantage of. The author could have weaved such a creative world around all of this with the book and the dragons but he decided not to take that step. I was disappointed with that. The possibilities simmered but remained out of reach. For the longest time I felt that this was going to be the start to a series but the end made it clear that this book is a standalone. I am sad because I would love to see more books play with this world. There is still so much left to discover. Still I think for a middle grade it is a very enjoyable standalone. And a small disappointment certainly was that there were only dragons mentioned. No physical dragons here. Too bad.
Blake was easy to like. He was no star in school while his sister is very smart. There was clearly some resentment there at the start but as the story progresses their relationship seems to become stronger. And that gave this book such a warm feeling.