A Review of Joanne Harris’s Runemarks

harris.jpgSFGate.com reviewed Runemarks, a new urban fantasy for 9-12 year olds, from Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes (US title The Girl With No Shadow). Here’s a taste of what the reviewer had to say:

Born with what the villagers of Mabry call a “ruinmark” on her palm, motherless Maddy Smith has always felt like an outcast. Her neighbors suspect she is a witch. In fact, 14-year-old Maddy knows enough about spell casting to be of some use in keeping goblins from creating too much mischief in the local cellars.

Harris said her idea for Runemarks has been around for quite awhile.

Runemarks goes back a long, long way. My first full-length try at a novel was a sprawling 1000-page monster (with illustrations) called Witchlight, written when I was nineteen and rejected by every publisher I sent it to on account of its length, its complexity and the darkness of its imagery.

In many ways, Witchlight was the prototype of Runemarks. It was set in the same place, the valley of the Strond. Its heroine was also called Maddy, she had a sister called Mae, a goblin friend (whose name, like that of Sugar-and-Sack, was taken from accounts of the Pendle witch trials) and most of the action went on in World Below – but Runemarks goes back even longer than that.

Runemarks was released by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 8, 2008.


One comment on “A Review of Joanne Harris’s Runemarks

  1. I am trying to enjoy this story, and am succeedingly a little. But…and it’s a big but for a Harris fan, I’m getting worried about her dark side. I feel that this time she has gone a tad too far.She seems determined to attack anything Christian. I’ve seen this before in her obsession with witchcraft. Of late, she seems to deliberately bend so many truths with wrong references and incorrectly citing the rapture and the tribulation. Her reference to the word is clearly the bible and the book reference interestingly is 6.6.6 which is the sign of the devil/beast. Perhaps she is mimicking Dan Brown and all of his trash!which is a pity because she can do better than that. Putting this aside, she cleverly threads together a story of intrigue, deception and double deception, making the bad guys the good guys and vise versa. I have a sneaky suspicion that she was probably taught by nuns and is using her writing to try and get back at them. I further suspect that she is propbably not even aware that she is doing it! I wish she would just get on with the business of writing a good book and leave her religious venom out of it.

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