The Farthest-Away Mountain
By Lynne Reid Banks
Doubleday, 1976

The Farthest-Away Mountain is a light fantasy novel for children, written broadly in the form of a classic fairytale.

Daken is a fairly standard peasant child, with a life of light chores and frolcking. However, she differs from her peers in that she 1. wants to travel to the farthest-away mountain, 2. meet a gargoyle, and 3. marry a prince. Yes, this is an odd list, but this is not a very serious story. She runs away, and, through a series of fortunate events, gets advice on everything she needs to know to make it not only to the top of the farthest-away mountain, but perhaps to conquer the evil lurking there.

But she ignores it. It turns out that a good sensible attitude and and a healthy ability to ignore the naysayers is enough to get her where she needs to go without a bunch of magical protection. However, she does get involved in saving the mountain, the kingdom, and the prince's future, which is more than she planned for.

This is a fun, easy book, and a good intro into chapter books for someone who's not quite ready for Dealing With Dragons or Ella Enchanted, but definitely ready for a non-traditional, long-form fairy tale. While this is an enjoyable tale regardless, it is most likely to be enjoyed by those within a stone's throw of 10 years of age. Older folks are likely to be slightly disenchanted with the simplicity of the characters, the predictability of the plot, and slightly-too-frequent use of deus ex machina.


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