Tuesday, February 20, 2007
A Mixed Reaction
Undine,by Penni Russon is the story of an Australian teenager who discovers she has some unusual, even dangerous, powers. Though it's a well-written book with some marvelous boy characters, I couldn't figure out exactly what Undine's power was about or where it came from, which I found frustrating. Though what I found as vagueness and lack of closure may have been intentional. Undine is the first in a trilogy, with Breathe being the second book. I haven't been able to find the name of the third book, but it's supposed to be coming out this year.
You know me. I like to see a storyline wrapped up in each book.
Undine includes a lot of references to The Tempest that I found a little awkward and distracting. They didn't seem to fit into the book in a very natural way. However, when I was doing a search for the title Undine, I learned that the word undine has a meaning within mythology that fits in extremely well with this book. I think it's pretty clear that Russon drew upon this element. I would have liked to have seen some kind of reference to it in the book the way Catherine Fisher makes clear reference to the Parzival story in Corbenic.
I may be showing my ignorance of The Tempest, though. At her blog, Russon has a recent post in which she discusses and links to an academic paper on Shakespearean children's texts that includes a section on her own book, Undine. (It must have been a bizarre experience reading that.) In the event that I get an opportunity to read all this material, the water nymph/Tempest/Undine connection may seem stronger to me.