Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Enchanting Review: Forge

Historical YA
ISBN# 978-1416961444
304 pages
Hardback available now

5 Enchantments

Fifteen-year-old escaped slave Curzon lives in fear of being discovered. After a chance encounter, he finds himself a member of a battalion under the leadership of George Washington which ends up at Valley Forge. Not only does Curzon deal with hiding his true identity from the other soldiers but the harsh conditions of the war. Also he can’t forget Isabel. Will they meet again? And will he survive?

This is the stunning conclusion to Chains. The rich writing, details, and setting make the reader feel as if they’d been dropped right into the middle of the Revolutionary War. I love Anderson’s eye to fine details to what the soldiers ate, wore, and how they interacted during this time. Curzon’s character is multidimensional. You can feel his conflict on how he feels towards a white friend he made on the battle field to the anger that his race still is considered not good enough to be free. There is one scene where he’s invited to go to this one officer’s home. He goes to the kitchen where he encounters some slaves. When the officer sees him there, he refuses to feed him.

What I really love about these books is how well Anderson brings emotions to the surface. I felt anger, sadness, and even horror at what Curzon sees at Valley Forge. She’s able to paint a harsh, realistic picture of the numbness that must happen to someone who witnesses war.

I highly recommend this book to fans of Anderson and also to any school library. Both Chains and Forge would be great books to use in discussions of the Revolutionary War and how freedom didn’t include all men at that time.

Laurie Halse Anderson is an award-winning author of Speak and Chains, which were both National Book Award Finalists. Laurie lives in northern New York, where’s she’s working on Isabel and Curzon’s final adventure. Find out more on her blog at and

Kim Baccellia
October 2010