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DOWNLOAD ß The Spellcoats á The story of the mythical land of Dalemark, and the four young people enlisted by the Undying, the mysterious gods of Dalemark, are continued in this third volume of The Dalemark Quartet Reread whilst ill it s been a long time, and as usual with deliberate rereads I remembered some aspects very vividly and others not at all The Spellcoats is the first person narrative of Tanaqui, a girl living in what s effectively the prehistory of the other Dalemark books She is weaving her narrative into the eponymous spellcoats and she understands muchabout what she is doing by the end of the novel than she does at the beginning, when events are set in motion by the King s recruit Reread whilst ill it s been a long time, and as usual with deliberate rereads I remembered some aspects very vividly and others not at all The Spellcoats is the first person narrative of Tanaqui, a girl living in what s effectively the prehistory of the other Dalemark books She is weaving her narrative into the eponymous spellcoats and she understands muchabout what she is doing by the end of the novel than she does at the beginning, when events are set in motion by the King s recruitment of Tanaqui s father, and her elder brother Gull, to fight the Heathens.Tanaqui and her siblings their mother is dead are ostracised by the villagers they look nothing like their neighbours, and they worship different gods and are eventually forced to flee downriver They meet a young man, Tanamil, who teaches each of them something important they reach the river s mouth and encounter a great evil most importantly, they find out something of their own origins.This is a novel which demanded immediate rereading way back when I first read it, because the revelations of the latter half shed a different light on earlier chapters I m pleased to see that the slow build still works for me And now, of course, I see that it is also a story about xenophobia, about being driven from one s home, about trying to tell the story of your life when you don t have a firm foundation on which to stand and look back on the events that shaped and are still shaping you The Spellcoats is one of the first books I ever read by Diana Wynne Jones and is still one of my favorites With her tenth published novel, she demonstrates a maturity that marks the rest of her career as good as her previous works are, with The Spellcoats she plays with first person limited POV and the clash of cultures to create Dalemark s history in a way that perfectly fits what she s already established with Cart and Cwidder and thecomplex Drowned Ammet.I didn t realize, back in the The Spellcoats is one of the first books I ever read by Diana Wynne Jones and is still one of my favorites With her tenth published novel, she demonstrates a maturity that marks the rest of her career as good as her previous works are, with The Spellcoats she plays with first person limited POV and the clash of cultures to create Dalemark s history in a way that perfectly fits what she s already established with Cart and Cwidder and thecomplex Drowned Ammet.I didn t realize, back in the day, that this book was part of a series I didn t have access to Drowned Ammet, and as The Spellcoats happens in pre historic Dalemark, it wasn t obvious to me that it was set in the same world as Cart and Cwidder Reading DWJ s novels in chronological order makes a huge difference The Spellcoats is good on its own, but so much better read as a prequel and I am very fond of prequels.As usual, DWJ depends on the family structure to drive her plot In this case, it s Tanaqui and her four siblings at the story s center their blondness and mysterious dead mother setting them apart from the dark haired villagers, and worse, they look like the invading Heathens their people are at war with Driven out of their home, they travel down the River to whatever lies at its mouth near the ocean, find a great evil, and travel back to the River s source to find a way to stop it They re not a perfect family this would not be a book by DWJ if they were Tanaqui gets impatient with her siblings, especially her sister Robin Hern is a rationalist who doesn t believe in magic unfortunate, because it seems to surround them and Duck gets all vague whenever trouble threatens But this is exactly what makes the story work, because it s the conflicts between them that create the conflict that drives the story Their encounter with the evil Kankredin at the River s mouth goes both well and poorly because of who the children are and how they interact with each other.The main conceit of this book is that Tanaqui, a master weaver, is telling the story through weaving it into a giant rugcoat those who know how can read it DWJ s skill makes this conceit hold together, as Tanaqui tells the story as if it s all already happened which it has and the coats end and begin in places where Tanaqui would have the ability to weave not a small thing.Tanaqui gets most of my sympathy because, as the POV character, she can put herself in the best light, but usually doesn t Or,accurately, she ll admit later in her weaving things that she left out earlier She sketches the others fairly but accurately, and I especially like how she admits to getting impatient with her sister when Robin is ill Tanaqui also ends up having the most important role to play, even though it s a role that leaves her ignored by history view spoiler The postscript, which describes archaeologists discovering her two rugcoats spellcoats, is written centuries later and makes speculations about what the story might have meant Of the five children, the girls are the ones who are overlooked Robin disappears entirely, probably because she runs off with Tanamil, and Tanaqui is identified with a mythical figure that doesn t even have her name History does tend to forget about its women hide spoiler I m tempted, just a little, to ignore my chronological reading project and move immediately to The Crown of Dalemark, which finishes the Dalemark Quartet but it was written 14 years later, so I ll just have to be patient a little longer The Spellcoats stands in contrast to the densely plotted and bitingly humorous style I most associate with Diana Wynne Jones at its most action y in Dark Lord of Derkholm It also, for my vote, is the real standout of the Dalemark quartet paring down from the background politics of the first two books and going back hundreds of years to prehistoric Dalemark results in a smaller,mythic tale that echoesloudly for how muchcontained it is Tanaqui and her siblings have always li The Spellcoats stands in contrast to the densely plotted and bitingly humorous style I most associate with Diana Wynne Jones at its most action y in Dark Lord of Derkholm It also, for my vote, is the real standout of the Dalemark quartet paring down from the background politics of the first two books and going back hundreds of years to prehistoric Dalemark results in a smaller,mythic tale that echoesloudly for how muchcontained it is Tanaqui and her siblings have always lived by the river and if they re seen as a little eccentric in their habits are still entrenched in the village rhythms But when the Heathens come to invade the land, they find themselves alienated from the village and forced to take to the river It s a journey that will take them into the heart of the land and position them into deciding the future of Dalemark against the larger darkness that attacks it For a mythic tale , Spellcoats has a very small approach Limited for a great majority to the perspective of Tanaqui and her family as they drift along, it s the slowness of the setting that works to the narrative s great advantage The focus on their concerns and squabbles when faced with caring for themselves and their shell shocked brother Gull lends a real heft while Jones describes the river so beautifully you almost feel like you ve lived upon it your whole life as well It s this smallness, stripped away of the trappings of epic fantasy maps and imagined history and rules , that allows Dalemark to really finally emerge as a real character in its own right And I mean so both figuratively and literally, in a crescendo of an ending which lets all the pieces the history, culture, and magic of Dalemark, and the people click into place and brings into focus the real conflict of the series.Diana Wynne Jones never returned to tell a straightforward story epic like the Dalemark Quartet or at least the first three parts again, but I would ve liked to see how as a mature writer she would lent new twists to the idea Or I would have at least liked to seeof the continued adventures of Tanaqui and Duck and Gull, and why the hell not, Hern and Robin as well , which we were teased with mentions of in the other three books Rating 5 stars Reread 3 24 2011 must say didn t know what to expect and so came in with low expectations for this, so maybe that s the reason, but i really really liked it i actually thought that this was a right time in the series to have this prehistoric dalemark series katie and beth thanks for making me read this one before the crown of dalemark, i think this makes the crownenjoyable.