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The Illyrian Adventure Paperback – December 18, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Vesper Holly Series

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Paperback, December 18, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With this new novel, Alexander adds another delightful adventure to his many popular and award-winning books. (His Prydain Cycle was adapted for the recent Disney movie, The Black Cauldron.) This time, the intrepid protagonist is 16-year-old Vesper Holly. She's a precocious orphan from Philadelphia who sets out to prove her scholarly father's theories about the national legend of Illyria, a small Adriatic nation. It is 1872 and Illyria's ethnic conflict is brewing into a revolution. Vesper is caught up in the intrigue, and proves a shrewd and valiant ally. She reconciles the king and the rebel leader, thereby preventing a war, and in the bargain finds the historical evidence she seeks. The appealing characters and the nice blend of challengesintellectual and moral as well as physical are matched by lively storytelling.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9 Vesper Holly at 16 is an intrepid heroine too candid for 19th-Century comfort and more than a match for the villains she meets in this charming fantasy adventure. Whisking her staid guardian Brinnie off to Illyriaa tiny kingdom on the Adriaticto investigate one of her late father's theories, she involves them both in a search for treasure, an attempted revolution and a conspiracy to murder Illyria's King Osman. With the help of the rebel leader Vartan and in spite of Brinnie's habit of trusting the villains, Vesper solves an ancient puzzle and shows rebels and proud King how to make peace. A touch of romance adds the finishing touch. Narrated by loyal, rather naive Brinnie, the story moves briskly from one crisis to another until the final, quite satisfying resolution. The language holds hints of 19th-Century expression without being overdone, and the contrast between Brinnie's formal habits of speech and Vesper's directness adds humor. Each character is sketched briefly but clearly, and the relationship between guardian and ward is developed nicely throughout their adventures, each showing a growing regard for the other. Young readers may find it hard to relate to middle-aged Brinnie's voice, but none will complain of lack of action. Sara Miller, White Plains Public Library, N.Y.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (December 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141303131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141303130
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Illyrian Adventure is one of Lloyd Alexander's very best books. As an eighteen year old student applying to universities, I have written entrance essays on this book. I wish that I had read it when I was younger. It is an excellent book about a fearless heroine, and it has that truly inspiring flavour of all of Alexander's work. Not only is it fun to read (I've lost track of how many times I've read it this year), but it leaves you with a yearning to get up and go, to follow dreams. Vesper Holly is a wonderfull role model, if I ever have children, this will certainly be one of the first books I'd want them to hear. Go Vesper!
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Format: Paperback
Please don't misinterpret the three star rating -- I certainly enjoyed _The Illyrian Adventure_ considerably. It truly is an adventure, moving at breakneck speed from beginning to end. I was pleased by Alexander's creation of another strong female character (a la Mickle of the Westmark Trilogy and Eilonwy of the Prydain books) in Vesper Holly. I don't think, however, that this book (or any of the Vesper Holly books) compares to those previous series. The Westmark trilogy and Prydain books have a greater depth of meaning, they raise questions about right and wrong, good and evil, and heroism and cowardice which linger long after the first (or fifth or sixth!) reading. This book is a fun read, possessing a large quantity of Alexander's dry humor, but in the end you remember it as amusing rather than meaningful.
I'd recommend it to younger middle readers who might not be ready to read something as dense as the Westmark books or to true Alexander fans who love everything he writes.
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Format: Hardcover
After completing his Westmark trilogy, Lloyd Alexander must have been in the mood for some lighter fare and so he created the adventurous Vesper Holly and her guardian Brinny and set them off on a series of adventures in the late 1800's. The Illyrian Adventure is a fun and rapid-paced novel, filled with archeological finds, mysterious characters and exotic locales. Great fun for readers of any age. I'm looking forward to reading the further adventures of Holly and Vesper.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book (and the best) of the Vesper Holly series. Everyone will love Vesper and her sense of adventure. If you havn't read this book drop every thing, and head for the nearest bookstore or library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These are great light reads...A series of high spirited plots with quickly familiar characters, entertaining interactions and dialogue in out of the way locations strategically playing fairly moral protagonists against a materially brilliant, sociopathic arch villian. The refreshingly clever, intredpid young shero fights one righteous battle after another... wish these types of tales were around when I was a girl!
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Format: Paperback
I've been a Lloyd Alexander fan for a long time. His Westmark Trilogy and Prydain Chronicles are certainly some of my favorities for their high adventure, dry wit, and extraordinary depth. I've even exchanged letters with Alexander. Needless to say, I've been excited to begin the Vesper Holly books for a long times, and while this one is not quite up to the level of Westmark and Prydain, I am not disappointed.
Vesper Holly is quite a girl. She has a knack for getting into finding trouble and adventure. In this novel, she drags her Uncle Brinnie to Illyria and into a civil war with its roots in ancient mythology. Together, Vesper and Brinnie have to try to unite the country by bringing together the king and the leader of the rebel forces. Of course, the plot contains a lot of murder attempts and quick escapes and mysterious plot twists. It's certainly a fun, fast ride.
There is a lot that's great about this book. I'm always a stickler for good high adventure, and the humor, action, and characters of The Illyrian Adventure provide that. The only problem with the book is that it stops there. Where Prydain and Westmark have underlying messages about such things as political philosophy, the nature of heroism, and the ability of love to cut through the chaos of the world, this book did not have that depth. Certainly, read this book, but read Westmark and Prydain first.
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Format: Paperback
I'm 21, and I must say I love the Vesper Holly books as much as I did when I first discovered them at age 10. I read them over and over again through my teen years. They're like a cross between Indiana Jones and the Adventures of Tintin, with an added bonus--an original female heroine! As a young girl I admired Vesper and all her intelligence and pluck; she's a great role model for smart, ambitious girls who want to make discoveries. These books are funny, intelligent, and genuinely exciting. They are honest, lighthearted, goodhearted fun. I was delighted to discover that Lloyd Alexander has recently written a series finale (Xanadu Adventure). They're at a young adult reading level (good for ages 9-16) but are also great books for reading out loud with kids from ages 7 to 107.

Vesper, with a heart as big as her brain and her endearing knacks for mathematics, historical puzzles, and banjo music is a truly trailbrazing heroine in young adult literature. (Keeping track of her numerous and various admirers and enemies, and bumbling along with her humorous guardian, Brinnie, is fun, too!)

Thank you, thank you, Lloyd Alexander!
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