20 August 2007

Lionboy Trilogy Originally a Biology?

I can't find any external evidence for this theory, but I suspect that Zizou Corder (actually Louisa Young and her daughter Isabel) originally wrote her Lionboy series as a single large book, or two volumes, and added a third volume on the recommendation of the publisher or agent.

The book deal that made news in early 2003 was for three connected books, but as late as that August Young admitted that the series, "as it's a three-parter, [wasn't] even finished." Does that hint that a two-parter would have been finished by that time?

The first book, titled simply Lionboy, ends at a positive but inconclusive moment. Young Charlie Ashanti and his lions have outdistanced their pursuers and found at least a temporary refuge and powerful friend. But none of them is home, Charlie hasn't found his parents, and those villains are still on the move.

In contrast, second volume Lionboy: The Chase ends with nearly all the plotlines from the first volume resolved. Charlie's family has been reunited. The lions are home in Africa, and even Primo the saber-tooth has found a place where he is loved. The two main villains have been dispatched in different ways.

Yes, there's still the rapacious Corporacy steering the Rich World from its Gated Village Communities. But as far as the damage that occurs in Charlie's own life at the start of volume one, all has been repaired. Together, the two volumes make a most satisfying adventure, albeit one with unanswered questions and the seemingly extraneous (easily added, easily removed) minor character of a chameleon.

That makes the beginning of Lionboy: The Truth, the requisite third in the trilogy, a difficult challenge. The first several chapters grind a little as the vast machinery of plot moves again, like an ocean liner leaving the dock.

Characters who appeared to be left to the fates they deserved, either good or bad, must find reason or freedom to escape from those holes. Supporting characters who've had their time upon the stage and left, such as the king of Bulgaria and the circus folk, must be reengaged. And, though it requires a fair dose of stupidity, Charlie must let himself be kidnapped once more ("He'd been a fool--he knew it immediately"). Then another chase is on. And this time the little chameleon is crucial to the plot.

The third book also introduces a couple of minor plotlines that aren't fully developed or, in the case of the king trying to learn Catspeaking on page 116, ever heard of again. Though the problems problems that fuel this leg of the journey are long-standing and worldwide, they seem to get resolved in a rush, in contrast to the well-paced conclusion of book two.

But three is a magic number; who ever heard of a two-book fantasy series? As the Book of Armaments commands, "thou shalt count to two only shouldst thou immediately proceed to three."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this post, I was seeking a clearer understanding of The Lionboy Trilogy. Nice review, by the way.