June 24, 2014
THE LEGEND OF THE WANDERING KING by Laura Gallego Garcia, 2005
Walid was a model prince: handsome, intelligent, skilled in the arts of warfare and poetry. But the kingdom boasted one greater poet than he, and out of jealousy Walid cursed the man to create an impossible work of art: a carpet showing the history of the entire human race. The poet died weaving it. Men went mad seeing it. And when it is stolen, Walid discovers his life's quest: to recover the carpet and earn forgiveness for his mistakes. Inspired by the story of a real king of pre-Muslim Arabia, LEGEND is a magical fantasy, a meditation on destiny, and an utterly thrilling adventure. (Amazon)
Reviewed by Emily, avid bibliophile
Do you ever pick a book up simply because the title is so perfect that you have to see what's inside of it? I admit that I do this on occasion. And this book is one that I did not regret.
It begins in the desert, with a prince who has been blessed with everything. His talents are multiplied seemingly without effort, and the only thing that he still lacks is a standing as a poet.
His father, uneasy at his son's eagerness to gain such an honor, agrees nevertheless to hold a poetry competition, which the prince enters eagerly. His poem is perfect - but the prize does not go to him, for there is someone else whose poetry is so sublime that the hearing of it gives the audience to wonder: who is the unnamed poet?
The prince, overcome with wounded pride and the painful realization that this poet, revealed as a simple carpet-maker, has outdone him effortlessly, gives the man two impossible tasks before he can return to his family. Hammad must first organize the entire collection of the library, then make the most wonderful carpet ever created. He accomplishes both, at the cost of his sanity and his life.
The rest of the story deals with the consequences of the prince's prideful actions, and ends where it began - in the desert.
It is a haunting story about the consequences that surround actions, and the possibilities for redemption that are placed in the prince's path. LEGEND is not a tragedy, but a commentary on the danger of arrogance and the necessity of humility in a land filled with unsettling insights into the human soul.
Market: Young Adult Fiction
Language: Beautiful. No swearing that I recall
Sensuality: None that I remember
Mature Themes: Responsibility for actions, pride