Today’s post is a jaunt into the YA fiction world- The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde.
Forde is Irish, the book is set in the future and censorship is employed in a drastic new manner. A great start!
This book combines a traditional characterisation with modern themes. There is a classic protagonist- focus on a young person who must fight their way through life in a dangerous world much like Jane Eyre or David Copperfield. In a newer tone, climate change has caused great damage prior to the setting of the novel which is chilling to read. It is easy to feel safe shivering at the dark world of Nicholas Nickleby or Tom Brown from the safety of your cosy, 21st century bed. It is slightly more disconcerting to be shown a flash into a future that may have vestiges of reality.
I don’t feel lectured by the novel however. There are many warnings about the dissatisfactory behaviour of adults to protect the future thinly disguised as fictional narratives already in existence. The Wordsmith doesn’t do this. This book is primarily a well told adventure story moreso than a moralistic life lesson.
The plot focuses on a strong young woman with a very important task- protecting language. I really loved the use of word cards in each chapter and found Forde’s concept to be clever.
This novel has a dramatic, fast moving storyline with danger on every corner. It doesn’t infantilise youth but lays events starkly often with grisly detail.
Lastly, this book reads like the work of a very skilled, experienced adventure story writer. I recommend it to lovers of The Hunger Games, The Wind Singer or (for those of you who remember) Enid Blyton’s Adventure series. Darker than Blyton in places, but that also depends on your perspective!