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Endymion Spring Paperback – August 12, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–In 1452, a young printers devil toils for his master, Herr Gutenberg, who is in the process of printing a Bible. On a suitably dark and cold night, sinister Johann Fust arrives at Gutenbergs shop with a mysterious wooden chest decorated with dragons and serpents heads. In a parallel story set at Saint James College in Oxford in the present day, Blake, a professors son, discovers a wordless book with the title Endymion Spring, which was the printers devils name. The present-day narrative and the story of Endymion Spring cleverly intertwine as Blake discovers that the book is the key to all of the worlds knowledge. As Endymion lies hidden in Gutenbergs shop one night, Fust opens the wooden chest and, because of what Endymion learns, he is forced to flee. In an incredibly effective action scene, he eludes capture. Back in the present, Blake and his sister, Duck, find themselves pursued by a mysterious Person in Shadow and discover, as it leads them into the depths of the Bodleian Library, that Endymion Springs book has a mind of its own. Even if the promise of the clearly intriguing premise is not quite fulfilled, this book is certain to reach an audience looking for a page-turner, and it just might motivate readers to explore the true facts behind the fiction.–Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. This debut novel, when offered to publishers at the manuscript stage, spurred an impressive bidding war. Why the fuss? For one thing, it's partly set at Oxford University, the same backdrop Philip Pullman used in The Golden Compass (1996). For another, its focus on a coveted artifact evokes Dan Brown's adult blockbuster The Da Vinci Code (2003). Blake, an American adolescent visiting modern-day Oxford, stumbles upon Endymion Spring-- one portion of "the most legendary, sought-after book in the world." As Blake attempts to complete the fragment while evading cutthroat members of an antiquarian book society, flashbacks reveal the book's fifteenth-century connections to the original printing press, recounted by an apprentice of Gutenberg himself. Though the pulse-racing descent into Oxford's subterranean library stacks is thrilling, not every reader will respond to the novel's scholarly atmosphere, and subplots intended to flesh out Blake's character (mainly his angst over his parents' separation) seem stiff and forced. Once the buzz surrounding this heavily promoted fantasy subsides, look for it primarily in the hands of bibliophiles who enjoyed Cornelia Funke's Inkheart (2003) and Inkspell (2005). Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734561
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.A. VINE VOICE on September 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Although I had read partial reviews that were somewhat negative saying this wasn't the next big thing or certainly not "The Da Vinci Code for kids", I have to admit that I expected more.

The story is told in two parts. One is the creation of the spectacular book around which this story revolves, and then the story itself, told in present time at Oxford University.

I had two main problems: I wasn't terribly intrigued by the "spectacular book", and I enjoyed the medieval "back story" more than I did what I believe to have been the main story.

The main character and supporting characters from the 15th century were considerably more tangible than the brother and sister team from present time. Honestly, I didn't care much for either of the latter. The boy, Blake, was too whiny, grumpy and downtrodden to really root for, and his sister was too much of a pain to be likable. Sometimes pain-in-the-rear characters are immensely likable, but I didn't find myself rooting for either.

Also, this was written from a "third person limited" point-of-view. In each part - medieval and present day - there was one main character. In third person limited, the narrator is generally limited to what that one character could theoretically observe. Therefore, I was puzzled as to several usages of British English. To cite one example, when Blake thought of a flashlight, it was always referred to as a torch. In third person limited, it would be referred to as a flashlight - because Blake speaks American English.

Perhaps it was my dull brain, and this is entirely plausible, but I'm not sure that the mystery of the book was entirely resolved. Perhaps it was and I missed it.
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Format: Hardcover
If you should turn to your beloved children and ask them, "Well, kids. Where would you like to go on Spring Break this year?", do not be overly surprised if they should scream in unison, "OXFORD!!!". I hate to break it to you, but these days Oxford is coming off in children's literature like the coolest place on the planet. First Philip Pullman put his mark on it with the, "His Dark Materials" series. Now newbie middle reader author Matthew Skelton is putting his own distinctive brand on that most notable of halls of knowledge. A fantasy with the good grace not to put "Book One" on its cover (even though it is), Skelton's newest tale is a sweet ode to the written word and an exciting tale of intrigue, damnation, and the book to end all books.

He didn't find the book. The book found him. When American expatriate and teenager Blake moved to Oxford, England with his annoying little sister and scholar mother he expected to be bored. What he did not expect was to be bitten by an ancient crumbling novel with the words, "Endymion Spring" on the cover. Intrigued by his find, Blake suddenly finds increasingly strange things happening to him. He receives a little paper dragon that seems to have a mind of its own. His sister is acting quieter and more withdrawn than usual. By the time he understands what he's gotten into, it's far too late. Blake's fate is tied in with that of the original Endymion Spring, a boy apprentice to the great printer Gutenberg himself. Leaping between the past and the present, this tale draws together scholars of every age, the lure of power, and how one book can change the entire world. Magic and research combine in a terrifying mix.
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Format: Hardcover
Little did Blake know the adventure on which he would be taken when the volume "Endymion Spring" bit him from its shelf at Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Together with his annoyingly precocious sister, Duck, they set out to solve the mystery of a book whose pages are blank to all except Blake who has been chosen by the book. But for what? And who was Endymion Spring?

Matthew Skelton has constructed a story to be loved by anyone who loves books. The plot moves between present day Oxford and fifteenth century Germany where Gutenberg has begun to print his now famous bible. While the characters are fairly one dimensional and the writing is plain and straight forward, the story is a wonderful concept mixing scholarly research, the legend of Faust, dragons and above all books.

I read it in one sitting, not able to put down. That's about the highest praise I can give book. It kept me completely enthralled the whole time.
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Format: Hardcover
This book had so much potential and promise to be a huge hit, but I truly believe like a few of the other reviewers that it just simply falls short of the mark. I was happily loving it right up to about three quarters of the book, then was severely disappointed by the end. The ending is rather abrupt and the mystery of Endymion Spring's book is not solved. The reader is left without an answer which I found very frustrating. Now if someone tells me this is book one of a trilogy or series, well then I'd give it five stars. But nowhere do I see it written in the book, or on the internet, that this is book one and there is more to come. As a stand-alone story, so much is unexplained and left behind for the reader to question. There are a few great interesting characters in the book that are introduced that sort of dissolve and fade never to return. This once again leaves us bewildered about who these people were and why they were there. I did find the writing exceptional, other reviewers who criticized this aspect were very unfair, and I loved the whole history of the book industry and the printing/bibliophile aspect of the story. To learn about Gutenberg and the printing press and to get an insight to the wonderful English libraries in Oxford was just very exciting and kept me interested just for that aspect alone. I did find it very intriguing and for the most part couldn't put it down, but as I crept closer and closer to the end I felt so let down and disappointed. I feel there should have been so much more and perhaps if the right publisher or editor had seen the same qualities lacking, the book would have really been a sensational debut. The author has promise and I would definitely read his next book to watch his writing evolve, but this one just didnt make it all the way.
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