Book Review: Peaceweaver by Rebecca Barnhouse
Peaceweaver by Rebecca Barnhouse is a historical fantasy book for young adults. It is a companion book to The Coming of the Dragon. It is about inner strength and doing what is right, even when it might go against personal desires. Hild is sixteen and is thrilled that she is starting to be seen as more than a child by her uncle, the king. However, when she saves her cousin's life and kills the traitor in the process the war favoring adviser plants fear of her reasons behind the action in her uncle's ear. Events lead her on a dangerous journey as a promise to peace to an enemy king.The journey is hard, and there are creatures of legend living in the wood and treachery lurking behind the scenes. Hild faces many choices, will she risk everything for the greater good and the destiny she did not choose or will she choice her childhood dreams.
Peaceweaver is a wonderful young adult novel, which could also make a great read for older children and adults. The world building and reveal of the larger picture are beautifully done. In fact, even after moving on to me next read, I keep going back and thinking about the book. The characters are strongly developed, and even the characters that do not get much time in the story, feel whole when they have a role to play in the story. Hild is eager to help her family and country, she wants to help weave peace in an era where conflict seems constant. She has great hope for the future, even a hope for romance. But when she is shown to have a special gift, the men that love war and have the ear of the king nurture fear and distrust in her, changing her path. Her fears, hopes, and doubts are all believable and understandable for the reader. I loved the building of legend into the world and story. I felt so much a part of the book that I was very sad to see the last page. The story is so well woven, that I actually dreamed about the story for a few nights.
My only disappointment is that I have yet to read anything else by Rebecca Barnhouse. I greatly enjoyed Peaceweaver, and will be reading The Coming of the Dragon as soon as possible. Some reviews have compared Barnhouse to a favorite author of mine, Tamora Pierce. I do think that fans of one will enjoy the other, and that several factors are similar, such as strong female characters and the lack of sexual situations that might bother readers or make the story inappropriate for younger readers. However, both writers have unique voices that sound different to me, but are both fantastic. I am thrilled to have discovered another author I can recommend to children that are bored with books in the children section, but are still unprepared for the sexual situations and violence can appear in young adult novels.