Before I even finished reading the first chapter of this book I was on the phone texting my sister and recommending this book to my eleven year old niece. The opening was beautiful, moving, and magical, and it caught my breath! This story was wonderful all the way through; so rich, so beautiful, so well written--it's been a long time since I've read anything this good that was aimed at upper elementary school kids. It's been a long time since I've read anything this good, period!
The writing itself was captivating, and it just made everything come vividly to life in my mind. There were actually passages in this book that made me pause and marvel at how stunningly well written they were. And the storytelling! Seriously, Watership Down meets Macbeth. I know that sounds weird, but, well, it worked! This was an emotional, complex plot with characters that just happened to be non-human animals! This story felt as crisp, and green, and lush as the island it was set upon, and yet it also felt like it was as old as time--it felt like a story that people have been sitting around fires listening to for thousands of years. It was just lustrous and timeless!
I listened to this on audiobook, and that was narrated by Andrew Sachs. He is simply an exquisite narrator, and he was perfectly matched to this story. He did a marvelous job--very entertaining, very rich, nuanced voice acting.
There wasn't anything that I disliked about Urchin of the Riding Stars. It was just brilliant all the way around. What a way to start off the new year!