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The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde

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Children's Book of the Month

The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde
Published by Little Island Books, 2015.

Without words, our lives would be unimaginable. Why then are the people of Ark in danger of becoming wordless? In this dystopian novel for older children the ruler of Ark’s plan, is to rid the people of language altogether and to make them wordless. Letta is a young girl who has become a wordsmith in the wake of her adult carer, friend and mentor’s disappearance and death.

Benjamin is left to die by his captors after refusing to accept an opt-out offer from Ark’s leader John Noa before his world as he knows it, and its people are destroyed forever. It falls to Letta then to carry on the work of her beloved master and make sure she saves her people from a tyrannical future where all communication will be banned. As she faces this enormous challenge she must keep her head down and work hard. And she must reduce the vocabulary of her people to a maximum of five hundred words which makes up the language of List that everyone must speak. All this whilst living in a world of food and water rations, shared shoes and clothes, and where art and music are banned.

The book has an excellent plot and an array of well-developed characters. Letta’s relationships are realistically portrayed and the story is full of action, adventure and suspense. Even if you’re not a fan of dystopian fiction you are guaranteed to love this book for its wealth of language, its strong cast of characters and its excellent storyline. Be prepared to be hooked after reading the first few lines.

‘This gripping story has the dark atmosphere of books such as the Hunger Games series and ends on an intriguing note that might promise a sequel. Inis Magazine, Children’s Books Ireland