Ahoy there me mateys! This read is long overdue. Having loved other books by this author, I always wanted to read this book but never did. Then I read a post by me matey Jackie @ deathbysundoku back in October 2017. She be on the Great Newbery quest wherein she be reading all Newbery medal winners by January 2022 when the 100th Newbery Award happens! Worthy goal indeed. I meself had embarked on this journey many years ago before adverse winds and scads of other adventures sent me off course. So Jackie’s posts have rekindled me interest in finishing them all and so periodically I pick another one up.
I have to say that this one was not the best book in me view. This be a young adult historical fiction. The story follows eighteen year old Daniel bar Jamin of Israel. Daniel wants revenge on the Romans due to the death of his father. But he is torn between duty to his family and duty to the band of outlaws determined to wrest Israel from Rome’s control.
While I enjoy the characterization of Daniel and sympathized with him, it was the pacing of the plot that made this less than fun. This story takes place over many years and the action is slow. Most of the story involves Daniel’s inner struggles. I think the problem was that I, the reader, could see the path he should take and then had to hear all the silly reasons why he didn’t. I still thought Daniel was wonderful and was rooting for him.
It was also weird to read of Jesus as a side character who has conversations with Daniel and then saves the day. I didn’t mind the religion in the book outside of that quirk. I always enjoy readin’ about different perspectives and the book’s time frame with all the changes and upheaval in religion is fascinating. I do think this be the book’s strength.
I can see why it also won an award Hate not love be the message of the day. While I think that be a worthy sentiment, I just didn’t love the execution of it. I consider it just okay. No regrets about readin’ it though. I now want to reread the sign of the beaver. Arrrr!
Side note: For this list of all the Newbery award winners thus far and the ones I have read go to me Newbery page!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)
The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from his land of Israel. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A fast-paced, suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, the idea of home, community . . . and ultimately, as Jesus says to Daniel on page 224: “Can’t you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love.” A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.
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