Long before a lovable orphan named Harry suffered at the hands of the Dursleys, a lovable cricket-playing orphan named David Allard was hating life with his awful relations, Uncle Bernard, Aunt Dot, and Cousin Ronald. He tries hard to be grateful for the way they’ve looked after him since his parents died, but it’s tough when all they seem to want to do is criticize him or send him away. When he gets stuck in their company one summer, he glumly anticipates months of misery.
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That is, until he meets Luke. Or, if Luke is to be believed, until he released Luke from a magical snake-filled prison.
At first, it seems like Luke, charming and fun as he might be, is just plain bonkers. However, David’s skepticism is put to the test when he’s able to summon his new friend with the flick of a match. Add to that Luke’s ability to start fires and wither plants with a touch and maybe he’s not so crazy, after all.
But the trouble is, the folks who put Luke in prison aren’t pleased by his escape. One by one, they show up to try to trick or force Luke’s location out of David, with the most savvy participant in this battle of wills being a one-eyed gent who keeps company with a pair of ravens.
Ultimately, David will bargain with the one-eyed man to try to keep Luke safe, thereby embarking upon a quest that takes him through a bevy of Norse myths come to life.
EIGHT DAYS OF LUKE is a charming tale steeped in mythology, but offering a new and unique perspective on it. Between Diana Wynne Jones’ capable prose and the likable main character, the pages flew by for me. Odd as he was, I also loved Luke, and at least one of David’s relations turned out to be unexpectedly kind. If I had any quibble with this book, it’s that I’d hoped for some clever twist or reveal as the pieces came together, a la HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, but alas, I knew my Norse mythology too well to be surprised by certain aspects of the plot. Still, even without any shocking twists or turns, this book is entertaining and well-written. I had fun trying to guess how each character and location fit into the Norse mythology motif. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to any mythology buff looking for a fun read that still has some cleverness to it.