National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine presents a unique novel about a sickly boy's epic journey through England and Scotland at the height of Medieval times.
Adrian is small for his age, even for an almost thirteen year old. It doesn't help that he has albinism, which makes those he meets wonder if he's an angel or a devil. His father is a bowyer, and all Adrian wants to do is become apprenticed and go off to war as an archer. But that's not what his father wants for him. Since Adrian can write, his father wants him to be a scribe. That's just about the last thing Adrian wants. When the Scots invade England and Adrian's best friend Hugh runs off to find his father and fight in battles, Adrian soon follows, intent on finding Hugh and joining him in glorious warfare against the pagans invading England from the north. When Adrian finds Hugh, who is caring for a wounded Scotsman, he's horrified that Hugh would aid an enemy. But soon, as Adrian gets to know Donald, he begins to question what he's been taught about the enemy and the nature of war. In this epic journey an afflicted boy finds an inner strength he never knew belonged to him.
The Badger Knightby Kathryn Erskine
The Badger Knight by Kathryn Erskine takes the reader back to the Middle Ages, when Scots and English were always at war and life wasn't a sure thing for those caught in the middle. The novel follows Adrian, a boy of thirteen years old, who is also an albino. Seen as weak and dimwitted on top of being different physically, he has many talents that neither he nor his fellow villagers acknowledge. He knows he is capable and strong and is out to prove his family and the village they are wrong, all while trying to save his best friend. This quest leads him to adventures and experiences, some good and some bad, that he never would have thought possible in his small village. He meets noble men and scoundrels, sees the horrors of war, and has many of his preconceptions of others and life in general turned upside down.
Adrian's character has many flaws, but this is what makes the novel interesting. While there is abundant action and adventure, it's reading about Adrian as he gets himself out of trouble and tough spots, that makes this novel so enjoyable. It also allows the reader to see his growth as a character and a young man, making this a good, but different, coming of age story. In fact, he is in the middle of one of these adventures when the novel ends, so it's hopeful that there is a continuation to this exciting step into the world of the Middle Ages that author Kathryn Erskine has created.
Profanity/Language: 17 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 3 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: Character beats up another in a bullying way; character trips and slaps another to get their attention; description of hot cups put on character's back to stop a coughing fit; several references of how war leads to killing and death; highway robbers attack a man; reference to character being beaten for misconduct; several accounts of character shooting an animal with a bow and arrow and skinning it to eat; descriptive 3 page account of a battle and people dying from being shot with arrows and swords; intense account of enemy taking someone down with an axe and hacking body (~ 1 page) told from perspective of 13 year old witness; description of man's wounds from battle; many accounts of characters saying they want to kill their enemies; character runs into 2 men that were hung from a tree.
Sex/Nudity: 3 accounts of boy and girl hugging; 3 accounts of boy and girl kissing.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, War, Bullying, Running Away, Stealing, Killing.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Several references to a character drinking ale and getting drunk.
Reviewed By Sally