ladyofastolat: (Default)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
Today I skim-read a new teenage romance novel, which was... er... interesting.

The book is by Meg Cabot, who wrote the very popular "Princess Diaries" series. This latest one is called Avalon High. It's told by a girl called Elaine, who likes floating on ponds. Her parents are both academics. Her mother is researching a book on Elaine of Astolat, after whom Ellie has been named. (Strangely, this research is done from home and doesn't libraries at all. At one point, she discovers a hitherto unknown bit of Arthurian literature that proves that Elaine of Astolat existed in legend before Tennyson! She also says that all academics agree that the Arthur / Guinevere / Lancelot love triangle is historical fact.) Her Dad is writing a book on a twelfth century sword, which the museum has let him take home, so it's sitting there in the family living room.

Ellie starts her new school, where she falls madly in love with the school god, and all-round paragon. He's called Will, but since William is only his second name, and his first name starts with A.... Well, do the math, as they say. Will is going out with Jenny, a pretty-and-shallow-but-nice cheerleader - but Jenny is having an affair with Lance, Will's best friend. (Lance is a "nice but dim" football player.) Will has an evil half-brother, Marco; a dog called Cavalier; a boat called Pride Winn. He also has a compex family ife, that has strong echoes of the Uther/Igraine story.

There's also the English teacher, Mr Merl... I mean, Mr Morton, who seems to be trying very hard to push Ellie and Lance together. It turns out that he's a member of an ancient order who know that Arthur will be re-incarnated one day. Trouble is, every time this has happened, the forces of Darkness have got to him, replaying the old love triangle and getting him killed through the agency of the Mordred character. So Mr Morton is hoping that Lance and Ellie will fall in love, so Jenny will stay with Will, and disaster will be averted. (Ellie is not impressed. "No way am I the reincarnation of a dope like Elaine." Hmph!)

Anyway, it all goes horribly wrong, then it all ends up okay, when Ellie gives Will the sword during a big show-down in a storm, and the sword goes all glowy and nice in his hands. Turns out she's not Elaine of Astolat after all, but the Lady of the Lake. Mordred goes to prison (as if the Forces of Darkness (OMT) can't break him out of there); Arthur and Ellie kiss a lot; and one day, soon, when Will is grown up, he will probably become King of the All The World and lead us to a shining new tomorrow. No pressure, then.

(Sorry, Pellinor. There was no eccentric Mr Pelly, the school janitor, who kept rushing around in the background, searching for the strange beast who kept trashing the stationery cupboard.)

I have to admit to a guilty fondness for teenage girl romance novels, though I hated them when I was a teenage girl. It's frothy nonsense, of course - in a different league from something like the Owl Service. I wonder if it will inspire one or two fourteen year old girls to take an interest in Arthurian legen for the first time.

The thing I found most amusing, though, was imagining a certain person whose name starts with G reading a book with such a bright pink cover!

Totally unrelated: Anyone know of a science fiction novel that ends with the line "And the lights went out." A reader in one of our libraries want to know.

Date: 2006-01-20 10:34 pm (UTC)
ext_20923: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Malaheed thinks it might be The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke, which ends with something along those lines. It's a story based on the notion that once all God's names have been counted (or something) the universe will end. Someone calculates it will be nine billion names, the programme is run, and everyone looks at each other and nothing happens. The last line is to the effect that overhead, one by one, the lights of the stars are going out.

Date: 2006-01-20 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've just found out that we have this story on our bookshelves, so I was able to check it. It's not the exact same last line, but is the same in gist. I don't know exactly what the reader asked. I don't know if they came with an exact last line, from a quiz, or if they came in with a dimly remembered paraphrase. I'll pass it on to the library in question, anyway. Thanks!

Date: 2006-01-20 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It wouldn't be Nightfall, would it?, it's not. I just found the story online, and that is not the last sentence.

Date: 2006-01-20 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I thought it might be Nightfall, too. Pellinor suggested this, too, when I emailed him from work. But it isn't. Still, I must reread that story some day soon.

Date: 2006-01-20 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here you go:


Date: 2006-01-24 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"And the lights went out."

Methinks it's Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Not quite, scifi, though. Wish I had my copy here so I could check. But John Galt claims he and his holier-than-thouh capitalists won't return to civilization until NY loses power. Which it does.

Date: 2006-01-24 04:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, yeah, and I'm "friend"ing you. Be forewarned that I'm now stalking BOTH of you! *cackles*

Date: 2006-01-24 08:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And I'll Friend you back, if you don't mind.

(I haven't "friended" anyone under my other login, since there didn't seem to be much point. I only use that login once in a blue moon, whereas this is the one I use all the time.)

Date: 2006-01-24 08:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll pass this suggestion on to the library in question, too. Thanks! The reader who asked hasn't come back in yet, but at least the library will be able to present them with a list of possibles when they do.


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