Monday, June 29, 2015

The Badger Knight by Kathryn Erskine

Adrian is a master with a bow and arrow and wants to go into battle someday to prove it but his father won't allow that.  His father also won't hear of Adrian becoming his apprentice and learning to make bows.  No, the only future his father wants is for Adrian to become a scribe, something Adrian himself finds boring.  Adrian is further tormented by his aunt who sees him only as a laborer for her fields and someone to take care of her beloved ox, and the local boys who make fun of his pale skin, white hair and small size.  When everyone in town learns that England is going to war with the pagan Scots, Adrian convinces his best friend Hugh to go join the battle.  A few days later Adrian secretly leaves home to join Hugh certain that together they will be able to defeat the Scots and be regarded as the fine fighters they are.  But locating Hugh takes longer than expected and Adrian meets many people along the way, people who make him wonder if he knows as much as he thinks he does.

I had a hard time feeling motivated to get through this book.  I kept expecting Adrian to get to the battle but he didn't get there and to Hugh for a long time.  I realized at some point that this story is about the growing Adrian was doing along the way and some of those encounters were interesting stories in their own right.  However, it was still difficult for me to stay engaged.  I need to add as a caveat, however, that I was listening to the book, not reading it.  I don't remember ever doing that before because I read much faster than any narrator so I'm going to assume that I might've liked the story better if I'd been able to control the pace myself.