Dalemark

Liz Ottosson elizabethottosson at cableinet.co.uk
Tue Jul 24 07:01:27 EDT 2001


I've just read the first two Dalemark books and was pretty favourably
impressed. I'd seen a few people on this list say they didn't like Cart &
Cwidder, which probably helped as I wasn't expecting much when I opened it!
I enjoyed it enough to be seriously disappointed for a moment when I
realised that Drowned Ammet wasn't simply a continuation of Moril and Brid's
tale.

(In fact, I skipped the glossary at the end of C&C when I realised that it
contained what I thought were spoilers...I'll have to go back and read it
now.)

It took me a while to get into Drowned Ammet, but on reflection I think I
liked it more than C&C. So much to think about at the end, all these
terrible parents and dysfunctional families taken to extremes. Spoiler
coming up...

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OK. The scene where Mitt realises that Al is his father is so shocking and
painful. And the worst part was that Mitt's first thought was that he was an
awful person (trying to kill Hadd and threatening the children with a gun),
because he took after his father.

Around this point I really started to wonder what on earth was going on
(this happens quite frequently when I read DWJ!). For a moment, I almost
thought that Mitt's stepfather was going to turn out to be some kind of
incarnation of the god Alhammitt, as were the fishermen who looked after
Mitt and Milda after Al's disappearance. In the end, it wasn't as
complicated as that - they were simply nice, caring, *responsible* people.

But the gods do play a substantial part in this book, don't they?
Ultimately, the children have to learn to trust each other and themselves,
but it is Alhammitt and Libby who help them to do this.

I was disappointed in Milda, though - she was the stereotypical
nice-but-weak mother. I know that there are good autobiographical reasons
behind DWJ's dislike of mother figures, but as a woman, I find that the more
I come across such characters in fiction, the more irritated I become. I'd
almost rather come across an unpleasant female character than a weak
one...although I haven't read Black Maria yet!

Liz

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