Sally’s Rating: 2.5/5
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi is an underwhelming adventure tale about a young orphan boy that must flee his tiny village when accused of a crime he did not commit. On his journey, he slowly learns about his parents’ mysterious past and the reason for why there is now a bounty on his head.
It was really hard to care about anything that happened in this novel. Crispin is simply a straightforward adventure story wherein nothing in the narrative is surprising nor turns out a clever twist. The story line is very trite and formulaic with obvious tropes such as an orphan boy, a secret royal identity and a father-like mentor.
The hero of the story oftentimes just felt like he was going through the motions, and he doesn’t particularly get emotional or curious about the things that are happening around him as he mainly just reacts to the plot. The main character, Crispin, is a young boy who has been kept in the dark about his parents’ true identity. When events cause him to flee the city, the priest who is helping him gets ready to tell him about his parents, but unfortunately is interrupted and says he’ll reveal it all later. Yet, he conveniently dies. Most of events happen in a similar way throughout the story as the narrative always goes to the most obvious place and can easily be anticipated, which makes for an unexciting read since every mystery is easily solved.
While I would classify this book as a page turner, the main character doesn’t really do much. He is very reactionary and doesn’t really know what is going on for most of the story. As a result, he comes across a bit dense and ignorant and doesn’t live up to what I’d consider an ideal Newbery Medal worthy hero.
I will not be reading the sequel.