NZ Book Month – Maddigan’s Quest

maddigansquestMaddigan’s Quest by Margaret Mahy, previously published as Maddigan’s Fantasia

Time travel, a changed world, mystery, a quest, a determined girl who is competent and able, but makes mistakes, and grows and grows and grows – what’s not to like? Garland, the hero, is daughter of Maddie, the leader of a travelling circus or “fantasia” which brings dreams and performances and wonders to the settlements and villages it travels through. The Fantasia has a task, to bring a power source back to Solis, the main city in the land. Some mysterious strangers appear from the future, but are they there to help or hinder?

I enjoyed this book. From the glimpses of New Zealand – a character called Tane, a taniwha, a town called Gramth which is surely Greymouth for which I have a peculiar affection* – to the not-so-happy but happy ending, it’s all a fabulous tale. One of the things I liked best is that although there are mysterious events in the story, they are all science-y, all explicable, even if it’s with the baffling science of the future. The fantasy is grounded in imagined fact, which makes it all the more compelling. I’m not fond of ghostie-explanations, even in stories; give me science any day.

It’s a good read. Maybe a bit episodic, but it’s hard to have a road novel that isn’t. It’s highly imaginative and morally complex; decisions that Garland takes have difficult consequences, and the seemingly evil deeds of some communities are explicable, when seen from another point of view. I was absorbed by this book, as was Miss Eleven, and it’s on my (ever-expanding) list of books for re-reading, sometime, soon…

*Due to a dip in a hotel bed, I was conceived in Greymouth, or so I’m told.


NZBMsmlI’m taking up Ele’s challenge, and blogging a book a day in October, which is New Zealand Book Month. All the books are by New Zealand authors.


6 responses to “NZ Book Month – Maddigan’s Quest

  1. I am enjoying the reviews of all these Margaret Mahy books. The Tricksters is one of my all time favourite books and I read it nearly every Christmas as it captures the southern hemisphere season so perfectly. Very ghosty though!

  2. That footnote is laugh-out-loud delightful.

  3. I got this e-mail from my mother:

    DEBORAH !!!

  4. Fair enough!

    (My mother doesn’t speak English or know how to use a computer and for that I am sometimes grateful.)

  5. Pingback: Bogor « Homepaddock

  6. One would have thought a hump would work better than a dip…obviously not! Thanks for the giggle.