The Boy from Ilysies (Libyrinth)
by Pearl North
Cover Artist: Melanie Delon
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tor Teen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765320971
Date: 09 November 2010 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
When I read Pearl North's Libyrinth, the story just pulled me in and carried me along for the adventure. How could you not love a story about a girl who could literally listen to books telling her their stories without having to open then and read the words for herself? A mental audiobook. The Boy From Ilysies takes place shortly after the end of Libyrinth and gives us a look at how you move on from Redemption.
When the singers and libyrarians found that together they were stronger than either alone, and that there was a place for the song and the written word -- the Redemption had come. Now they must learn to accept the changes that the new order requires in how they live and work together and the various cultures merge.
Among the Singers, women were second class citizens. Well that's a bit harsh, but then I'm a woman and their society was patriarchal. For the Libyranians, men and women were seen as being equal and shared all the jobs, responsibilities, and rewards. Ilysies was matriarchal -- women ran everything because men were too unstable to be trusted with responsibility and decision making. Po grew up in Ilysies and had been training to become worthy to be chosen as a woman's consort. He felt adrift and alien among the Singers and the Libyranians -- he was having difficulty adapting.
The food is running out and crops are difficult to grow in the harsh climate and soil around the libyrinth. It doesn't help that there are now so many more people to feed since the Redemption. Po is chosen to be one of the chorus that is to travel to the Citadel of the Singers to teach the villagers along the way about the Redemption, ask for their help, and try to learn about the ancients and their ability to make the deserts bloom.
Along the way they learn that there is another group that is terrorizing the people and giving the Libyranians and the Redemption a bad reputation. Now they have an even more important mission: to find the source of the problem and stop it. Meanwhile they must learn to work together as a team and chorus.
Will they manage to complete their mission and return with food and a way to grow crops before those they left behind starve to death? Can they put aside their differences and learn to trust and respect each other regardless of whether they are men or women or what cultures they grew up in?
Once again, North has written strong characters in dangerous situations where they must learn to adapt and grow or die. The story will definitely pull you in and keep you reading but a word of warning, while there is a resolution to this story there is also a big cliff-hanger that will keep you pacing the bookstore until the next volume in the series comes out.