by Peter Dickinson
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released: November 13, 2001
Source: Checked out from my local library.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Tilja has grown up in the peaceful Valley, which is protected from being a constant battleground between the Empire to the south and the nomads to the north by powerful magic that has lasted 20 generations. But the magic has begun to fade and the Valley is in danger. Tilja and three of those responsible for maintaining the magic protections venture into the Empire to find the mysterious magician who can save the Valley. Tilja thought she had no magic, but she discovers she has a unique magic skill of her own that is critical to protecting the others...and, perhaps, to setting the oppressive Empire to rights.
Side note: The Ropemaker of the title is actually only a minor character in the story.
The Ropemaker is a young adult fantasy novel. This fantasy world had some unique customs and interesting reasons for having them, but the author spent more time on travelogue than world-building details. The characters had some depth, but they weren't really fleshed out. Yet they were engaging enough that I wanted them to succeed.
Unfortunately, I felt it lacked suspense. The few exciting scenes were over quickly. We're told they were a struggle for the characters, but the description of the struggle made it seem simple. The characters also always knew exactly how to handle each situation that came up, and they choose the exact right way to handle it. While things didn't always go exactly as planned, they never actually failed.
There was a very minor amount of "he cursed" style of bad language. There was no sex. There was some fantasy magic and magical creatures. Overall, I found the story rather forgettable and unexciting, but it's not a bad story.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.