- 5. John and Carole E. Barrowman, The Bone Quill
- sashajwolf wrote in queerlit50
- June 20th, 2013
This is the second in a children's fantasy trilogy written by John Barrowman (actor-singer, best known in the UK as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood) with his sister, Carole. It's set on an altered-geography version of Cumbrae, an island I've been visiting almost annually since childhood. I read the first of the trilogy last year and enjoyed it, but had some concerns about some of the ethical implications of the worldbuilding that didn't seem to be fully recognised in the text. Briefly, this is a universe where a minority have psychic powers, some of which are dangerous, and the in-universe solution is to assign the dangerous ones a "Guardian" from amongst the "safe" ones who exercises a form of mental control over them. My problem is that this setup is presented as a good and even a romantic thing. I'd hoped that the sequel might explore some of the darker implications, but it didn't, and there was nothing lead me to expect that the final instalment will, either. Compared to the first in the series, I was also more conscious with this one of being nearly four decades older than the target audience. For instance, I think if I'd read this as an eight-year-old, I might have been less bothered by the lack of any real evidence of religion in the medieval monastery where part of the action takes place. Given all of that, I think I probably won't bother to read the third.