Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren

Back Cover: In the kingdom of Nangiyala all is peaceful and happy when Jonathan and Karl Lionheart arrive. But across the mountains lies Karmanyaka, a country enslaved by the evil Lord Tengil. Jonathan knows that he must join the secret struggle against Tengil, and that he must see that his younger brother remains safe in Nangiyala. But when Karl hears that his brother's life is in danger, he too knows that he must find the courage and strength to make the perilous journey to the land of Lord Tengil.

My Thoughts: I was introduced to this book by my dad when I was about 8. He had read it in a Scandinavian Children's Literature class when he was in college and had saved three of the books that he liked, this being one of them. I have probably read this book about 4 times, but it's been quite a few years since I last did; I actually forgot about it until I wrote my book list. Spoiler: This is the story of two boys who die (that confused me so much when I was little) and go to Nangiyala, where everything seems to be exactly how they would want it to be. However, there is a cruel ruler over the mountains, and Jonathan has to join the struggle against him. Eventually, Karl gets mixed up in all of it and together they defeat Lord Tengil and his evil dragon. In the end, they both die once more and go to Nangilima.
It's narrated by Karl, the younger brother. The whole story was always a little weird to me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Okay, I know that wasn't a very good description, but it's been a long time. :)

Excerpt: "Did you know that I'm going to die?" I said, and I wept.
    Jonathan thought for a moment. Perhaps he didn't really want to answer, but in the end he said:
    "Yes, I know."
    Then I cried even more.
    "How can things be so terrible?" I asked. "How can things be so terrible that some people have to die, when they're not even ten years old?"
    "You know, Rusky, I don't think it's that terrible," said Jonathan. "I think you'll have a marvelous time."
    "Marvelous," I said. "Is it marvelous to lie under the ground and be dead?"
    "Oh," said Jonathan. "It's only your shell that lies there, you know? You yourself fly away somewhere quite different."
    "Where?" I asked, because I could hardly believe him.
    "To Nangilaya," he said.
    To Nangilaya - he just threw out the word as if it were something everyone in the world knew. But at the time, I had never heard it mentioned before.

Bad Content: I'm pretty sure that there is absolutely nothing bad in this book. :)

Age Range: It's meant for ages 8-12, but who cares about age restrictions on a children's book?!

Other Books: Astrid Lindgren also wrote (that I have read and recommend) the Pippi Longstocking books, Ronia The Robber's Daughter, and Mio, My Son. 

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