A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
A priest's throat is slit, a hung man is described, a bear is tortured, and a man is impaled.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men drinking in a pub.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a darker view of Middle Ages serfdom than one usually encounters.
Is It Any Good?
There's a lot here to keep young readers enthralled. The plot is an exciting adventure, with a gritty edge just violent enough to keep the pages turning. The details of the medieval setting are fascinating, and offer a picture of peasant life much more grim than most other books set in this time period.
Crispin is an appealing character, and Bear even more so, and Crispin's progress in learning from Bear to be a juggler and musician is very satisfying. There are mysteries and suspense and plot twists, though alert readers will solve the major mystery long before Crispin does. One odd omission is that there's no Author's Note to explain the historical background, and a map would have been nice as well.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.