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Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: The Shepherd of Weeds by Susannah Applebaum

The Shepherd of Weeds by Susannah Applebaum. The Poisons of Caux Book III.

The Shepherd of Weeds by Susannah Applebaum

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2011
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780375851759

Review: A poisonous ink, evil fathers, and a shepherd of weeds. All these objects and much more can be found in the book The Poisons of Caux: The Shepherd of Weeds, part of the Poisons of Caux book series, by Susannah Appelbaum is a tale full of magic and dangerous events which keep magic lovers on the edge of their seat. The story opens with Ivy Manx, the Child of the Prophecy, waking up at the Wayward Home for Indigent Orphans and Invalid Hotel and meeting up with her friend Rue.

Recently arriving back from Pimcaux, Ivy wakes up in torn clothing at the orphanage run by the evil Mrs. Mulk. She keeps her home for orphans a mess and only has dirty water for her residents. Ivy does escape with Rue by finding the other well, Mrs. Mulk's well with fresh, delicious water. But, Ivy doesn't escape easily because Lumpen Gorse, the well keeper, won't let anyone escape the orphanage. Soon, Ivy befriends the scarecrow well keeper by saving her life from Dumbcane, an evil assistant working for Ivy's evil father, Vidal Verjouce, director for the Tasters Guild who tastes the poisons of Caux. Ivy, Rue, and Lumpen then set on a quest to Rocamadour, where she can defeat her father and meet with her Uncle Cecil and friend Rowan to battle the Tasters Guild. Meanwhile, her father is concocting an ink that can erase the prophecy where he is defeated by his daughter. Once at Rocamadour, Ivy joins with her friends and uncle and acquires an army of birds and scarecrows. Will Ivy be able to defeat her father, or be trapped in his clutches forever?

I found The Poisons of Caux: The Shepherd of Weeds to be less amusing than most books I have read. I found the story to be confusing for many reasons. One reason would have to be that the story would change location and characters with no warning. Also, the names of the characters were hard to follow and names of creatures weren't real. I also found that the words that weren't factual made the storyline quite perplexing. Some examples would be how the author didn't explain that in the story some characters called the individual Dumbkin, was actually named Dumbcane. The author also didn't explain many things, an example would be how the main character, Ivy, could heal people but there were consequences for doing this. These traits puzzled me throughout the book. Although I was confused, this was probably because this was the last book in a trilogy and I haven't read the stories before. This must have caused for the confusion I experienced. Though I would give these book two stars, I did find some fragments amusing. I did like how the author added a summary of the two books before to catch the reader up to date. I also found that the emotions of the characters were related able. Although I didn't enjoy the book, my opinion would probably change if I read the first two books. This book would be great for people who love stories of fictional kingdoms and have read the first two books. Overall, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.

Review written by Kyle (7th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of The Shepherd of Weeds for this review.

Have you read The Shepherd of Weeds? How would you rate it?

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