Saturday, March 31, 2012
Jackal in the Garden by Deborah Ellis
Anubis refuses to die. She was left in the desert at her birth because she is horribly deformed, but she survives and grows up hidden from the world. After her mother's death, she is forced to again return to the desert, where after many wanderings, she meets artist Bihzad and his colony of artistic friends. Interacting with kind and cruel people, Anubis realizes that being a scholar doesn't always make you wise and that her looks really have no control over who she is.
Other: What an Animal Challenge
This is part of a series of books made to involve art and historical artists. You never know what you're getting into when it comes to series trying to follow some sort of theme and using lots of different authors, but much like the fairy tale updates series, this novel at least, was successful in its own right. Anubis is a tough, intelligent, very gender neutral voice who doesn't necessarily compliment the famous people around her. She points out Bihzad's flaws and doesn't exactly forgive him for them. He and his friends could have stepped in several times to save her, but they don't either because they are cowards or because they don't want to upset the balance of everything. The book also does a decent job of trying to explain Persian art as well as it can. Ellis has always seemed to have an understanding of that part of the world and she doesn't fail in this attempt either. She made a sympathetic but strong character in Anubis. This is a good bit of world YA historical fiction.