The Chimes of Alyafaleyn Hardcover – Oct 1993
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-In the world of Alyafaleyn, the balance of life is maintained by small golden spheres or heynim, which chime in a tinkling cloud over the head of each adult. The village has two misfits, Tamborel, who reaches his teen years without being able to catch any heynim of his own, and Caidrun, who attracts the spheres away from their rightful owners. Strongly drawn to the willfull girl, Tamborel becomes her close friend. Deprived of her beloved chimes by the townspeople, Caidrun grows up angry and restless. When she disappears and bad luck comes to the village, Tamborel sets out to find her. In the first part of the story the two characters are small children; a few pages into the second section, they have abruptly become teenagers. Though Tamborel is the main character, the moody, rebellious Caidrun is the more interesting of the two. The idea of the golden spheres is a fascinating one, and Chetwin has worked out her fantasy world with loving care. Unfortunately, her plot has received less attention, as is shown by a lack of focus and a too-hastily resolved ending.
Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. Caidrun, born with extraordinary powers, must wear a helmet that shuts out sight and sound to protect her and the town's other citizens. Deprived of sensory learning, feared and mocked by other children, Caidrun has only one friend and protector, Tamborel. When Caidrun is provoked, she commits the unpardonable crime of snagging and dispersing clusters of heymin, floating golden spheres that keep the world in harmony. Running away to escape punishment and to find the source of the heymin, she nearly destroys the world. Tamborel finally saves her from herself and releases the all-important heymin. Chetwin describes a complex world with intriguing situations and characters, but for much of the book, Caidrun is so spiteful and demanding and Tamborel so acquiescent to her demands that the reader almost loses interest. This seems to be the first book in a series, and since at the end, Caidrun has found some peace from her inner demons and Tamborel has shown himself to be resourceful and brave, it seems likely that future stories about the mysterious land of Alyafaleyn will have a hero and heroine worthy of mighty adventures. Sheilamae O'HaraSee all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book makes for a wonderfully emotional coming of age story of these two protagonists. What the author does best is to create that emotional relationship that exists between Tamborel and Caidrun. The understanding and the value of friendship is appealing--this book will most likely interest sensitive young teens who are exploring facets of emotional interaction and enjoy fantasy settings.
Those who prefer action, or more complex world building may feel this story drags at times, and the story rather simplistic. There are many aspects of this world that are never expanded upon, and the characters other than the story's two protagonists never become fully realized. The adventures of Tamborel, therefore, come across as lackluster. And most of Caidrun's adventures are skipped over entirely. Had the author spent some time on Caidrun's experiences from her POV, it might have made the story stronger.
Still, I very much enjoy this book for what it is. I am glad to have it in my collection.
The newly revised edition of this book, available only through [...]and Kindle, has a strange history. As Chetwin was finishing the first edition, her then editor put a page and time limit on the finished manuscript, and the writer had to scuttle her plans for the end. The result was a spectacular first half of a book that strikes a deep and vibrant chord - gifted children who are feared and mistreated in their mediocrity-ruled society, and the consequences of that attitude. One of the gifted children, Caidrun, goes "bad" as a result of near-torture, and the other, her friend Tamborel, runs away from home to seek help elsewhere in finding and saving her. Meanwhile, Caidrun's remarkable capabilities, which should have been guided into constructive channels, have become extremely destructive, and cause far-reaching chaos. In this first edition, while Brel does at last find Caidy, she is unchanged - still angry and dangerous, almost glorying at the turmoil she has caused. The second half of the book flounders on to an unsatisfying conclusion.
In the glorious second edition, however, the entire book fulfills the promise of that wonderful first half. The lives of Brel and Caidy are unfolded in fascinating detail and a whole world based on harmonies becomes real. Chetwin is one of those rare writers who can make a character's growth and development not only believable, but inevitable - no "moral lesson" here, but a natural progression that lends hope to all us square pegs. This book is about the individual's spirit and the power of harmonies- the internal reflecting the audible. Music is the art explored here, but all children who feel their gifts - as a joy or even as a burden - will surely treasure this book.
The Chimes of Alyafaleyn reminded me of books like the His Dark Materials trilogy and the Lord of the Rings in the way that it stuck in my head. There are some books that if you read them, then you compare them to every other book you read. The Chimes of Alyafaleyn is definitely one of those books.
Take two normal people, one age five and one age zero, and put them in another world. Single them both out of their community. And you have Tamborel and Caidrun. This is a good book, but it ends rather quickly, and so if you like things to tie themselves up neatly, this probably isn't the book for you. If there was a sequel, I would feel more like the story actually ended.
(If I wrote a book like this for my mean, strict, very grammar, detail oriented writing teacher, I would get a lot of points for creativity, but very few for "resolution." Don't get me wrong, this is one of the best books in the world. But it wouldn't make a very good school story.)