Synopsis: Asta’s son has no name. And, after the death of his mother, no family to protect him when he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Declared a ‘wolf’s head’ – meaning that anyone who catches him can kill him – he has no choice but to leave his village. All he can take with him on the journey is his newly revealed name – Crispin – and his mother’s cross of lead. Travelling without purpose, through a countryside still ravaged by the effects of the plague, Crispin stumbles upon a juggler, a giant of a man known as Bear. Crispin becomes Bear’s servant but the juggler is a strange master offering both protection and encouraging Crispin to think for himself. But Crispin is not safe and it becomes clear he is being relentlessly pursued. Why are his enemies so determined to kill him? Will the lessons Bear has taught him be enough to safeguard all that he now holds so dear…?
Title: Crispin: the Cross of Lead
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Growing up as a kid, my family never really bought books. Simply put, we couldn’t afford them, and there was a perfectly good library down the road that had everything I could dream of. I also had a few best friends who where book collectors from a young age; one of whom has a library instead of a bedroom!
Now that we’re all grown up (and still best friends!) we have a bit of a book exchange going on; which means we’ve borrowed so many books from each other, no one quite knows exactly who owns which books. I’m lucky in that I’ve only just started buying/ hoarding books recently so I remember what I’ve lent out – the other two have about 12 years of borrowing between them to sort through!
Regardless of how many books we have/want to read, every few months we gather at each others houses and borrow a stack of books, and by stack I mean minimum 7. Crispin was a book I got during one of these one of these ‘borrowing-hauls’.
Once I finally got round to reading it, I only needed a few hours to get through the entire book. I really liked the premise of the novel and did, at times, find Asta’s son’s innocence endearing – but there was something missing and I was left feeling – for a lack of a better word – bleh.
As I’ve mentioned, sometimes Asta’s son’s innocence was sweet, but mostly I found I had no patience for him; he was too accepting, too comfortable in his miserable life; and just too annoying for me to connect to in any way. OK, so he doesn’t know any better, he’s ignorant, been lied to – blah blah blah; I want my protagonists with a little more fight in them!
I really did want to like this book; Avi is a renown author with a huge backlist and Crispin is one of his award winners; but it didn’t really do much for me. It’s a nice story, and it’s not badly written, I was just unaffected by it.