Saturday, September 11, 2010

Throwback... Friday: "A Voice in the Wind" by Kathryn Lasky

Late! Gah I know, AND I missed last week! Things have been crazy here, what with my new library job and classes starting up again. I apologize for the delays, here is a super quick Throwback Thursday, but really Friday (but really, super duper early Saturday morning).

A Voice in the Wind: A Starbuck Twins Mystery, Book Three (Starbuck Twins Mysteries)This week's selection is one I've mentioned time and again on this blog, one near and dear to my heart. It is A Voice In the Wind by Kathryn Lasky, whose name you might recognize. (Published by Harcourt Brace & Co. in 1993.)

*Starred Review*

This is the last book in the Starbuck Family Adventure series, focusing on two sets of twins who can communicate through mental telepathy (basically talking to each other through their minds). The Starbuck family journeys to New Mexico for their father's latest job assignment, and both sets of twins (5-year-old identical Charly and Molly, and 12-year-old Liberty and July) are eager to explore their new home in the high desert. But along the way, they are caught up in a  ancient tragedy that directly affects them in the present. The twins all must work together to set the wrongs of the past right—even if it means putting themselves in the way of greedy grave robbers.

Just so you know, this book is one that is so deeply woven into my childhood that I am completely biased. I read it at least 8 times in my life, probably more. I would take it out of the library every summer and reread it, until they unfortunately weeded it out of the collection. I managed to get my hands on a nice hardcover copy, thanks to the lovely Amazon Marketplace. This book sparked my interest in Native American culture and romanticized the Southwest for me. I still haven't gone there yet, but I plan to one day soon.

Lasky paints an incredibly rich and vivid picture of the Southwest landscape, using color and original yet descriptive simile to give a clear idea of the setting to the reader. This is a huge part of my attraction to this book—I wanted to go where the action took place because it sounded so magnificent and incredible.

She also doesn't shy away from using more advanced vocabulary in her writing. Readers will certainly learn new words here, as the meanings are clear from the context in which she puts them.

As far as plot goes, it's pretty fast-paced once they get to New Mexico. Murder, thieves, supernatural beings, a desperate search for ancient artifacts; all of it's in there. Not to mention it's well-researched and full of Native American culture and lore, with a little bit of history and some information on pottery-making thrown in there.

Just to warn you, Kirkus gave this a pretty bad review, but School Library Journal did not; I loved this book dearly and still do, so Lasky did something right. And just so you know, I didn't read the first two books in the series before this one.

I've mentioned the cover in the past (namely in my Top Ten Favorite Covers post) and took a picture of my copy, which has the original (better) cover, albeit mirror image thanks to my computer:

I know it's hard to see, but at least it gives you an idea! Look at the ghostly figure on the far right, how cool is that? Plus, love the colors of the nighttime scene.

Okay, I'll stop gushing now. Again, I'm completely biased so you might pick this up and hate it. Just sayin', this is one of my all-time favorites so if you do hate it let me know gently!


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