Sunday, June 20, 2010

Review of Crispin: The End of Time by Avi

Avi. Crispin: The Edge of Time. Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, 2010.

Starting right where the Crispin: At the Edge of the World left off, this final installment in the trilogy has Crispin and Troth staggering, exhausted and tattered, through France as they search for Iceland. Bear always told them Iceland was a place where people could be free, and though Bear is dead, Crispin sees Iceland as a shining beacon of hope.

Troth finds a haven early on, but Crispin pushes on, falls in with a band of traveling musicians who also happen to be murdering thieves, makes his way with them to Calais, and finally finds himself on a cog sailing toward Iceland. And there the story ends, my friends.

Although a boy named Owen who is traveling with the musicians might become a friend, Crispin doesn't have much opportunity to get to know him, and so he spends most of this novel cold, scared, and most of all alone. Readers will miss Troth, but I must say I was happy that she found a place where she can be safe, appreciated, and even happy. As for Crispin, he is his usual good, sweet self. I can't understand how every half-way decent person he meets doesn't want to take him home, dress him warmly, and stuff him with nourishing stew - but then again, he doesn't meet too many half-way decent people in this book.

Not a whole heck of a lot happens, as Crispin is mostly trying to get away from this scary family that has rather forcefully admitted him into their midst. This family is portrayed in quite an interesting and sinister manner. The matriarch, Elena, is obviously a woman of great complexity and intelligence - you can feel Crispin's disappointment that her warmth is directed only at her own family.

The oddest episode has to do with the manner in which Crispin comes across a warm and attractive outfit - in what apparently is an old grave. What does it mean? Why is it that the best thing that happens to him in the whole book is courtesy of a dead man?

The ending is both a relief and a worry, as Crispin is finally free of that hideous and dangerous family but is setting off for a very uncertain future. What on earth will he do in Iceland? Will he even make it there? Won't he be awfully chilly in the cold north? I'm concerned about the poor boy and I wish I had some reassurance that he's got a lifetime of full bellies ahead of him. He has had to endure so much hardship in his 13 years.

Although not as satisfying as the first two in the trilogy, this is still action-packed and well-written, a must for Crispin fans. For ages 10 and up.


  1. wait wasn't there like three other antagonists. can't remember their names, they were her sons or something. but yeah. the books always show crispin being helped by random people he doesn't. not like in today's world, heck no

  2. i was left hanging. i wish there was a fourth book. i wantto find out what happenes in iceland