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The Rope Trick by Lloyd Alexander

The Rope Trick (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Lloyd Alexander

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248646,284 (3.29)5
Title:The Rope Trick
Authors:Lloyd Alexander
Info:Dutton Juvenile (2002), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Rope Trick by Lloyd Alexander (2002)


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Alexander's Prydain series were second only to the Lord of the Rings in my 'favorites' list when I was a kid, but I never kept up with reading his new books, as they are mostly aimed at younger readers. After this, however, I may go out of my way to get them!
Yeah, this is a kids' book, but it's a really good kids' book. Alexander has a talent of somehow bringing everything to life with a brief, seemingly-simple, but well-turned phrase.
Lidi, a recently orphaned young woman, has decided to keep on with her father's family business as a traveling magic show. Her dream is to find a certain legendary magician and have him teach her his fabled 'rope trick.' Travelling through the provinces of an Italian-esque countryside, picking up a charming ragamuffin fortuneteller and a jack-of-all-trades on the run from the law along the way, she knows her quest is something of a wild goose chase - but feels bound to pursue it all the same. Similarly, her new hired-hand feels bound to pursue revenge against the overseer who murdered his uncle - even though the feelings between Lidi and himself are growing. Both must make decisions about what really is most important to them...
My only complaint with this book is that it ends VERY abruptly. It also seems to give the message that sometimes, the best thing to do about your problems is to run away from them. I've been thinking about this, because it's a sentiment that I actually agree with pretty strongly - but it's rare in fiction, and I think, just because of this rarity, it bothered me. Leaving things not solved but avoided isn't typical of a novel - but I think I liked it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I hated giving a Lloyd Alexander book less than three stars, but I did not enjoy Rope Trick. Much of the book was enjoyable, and felt like Alexander, but while Lidi, our heroine, had a very definite goal and aimed straight for it the book did not. It wandered a bit aimlessly, and the ending was just ... baffling. And disappointing. I hoped for, expected, magic and humor and the joy of a nice solid story from a long-beloved writer, and in the end felt cheated. ( )
  Stewartry | Mar 4, 2011 |
The genre of this book is fantasy and it is fictional. The only art is on the cover which is computer-generated and very colorful. It is about a girl named Princess Lidi, who is a magician who can perform any trick except the rope trick. Only one person in the world can perform the rope trick and that is Ferramondo. Lidi sets out on a quest to find him so he can teach her the trick but on the way she adopts an orphan named Daniella who gets kidnapped because she has prophetic powers. Princess Lidi is stuck with the decision to keep going on her journey or save Daniella. The reading level is probably fourth or fifth grade. The curricular connections are: magic, prophetic powers, adventure, love, journey, and mystery. ( )
  ceoliver | Apr 15, 2009 |
I moved The Rope Trick up the TBR pile pretty quickly because I was excited to read a Lloyd Alexander book that I had never heard of before. I will say, right off the bat, that this was no Prydain Chronicles. Still, it had its merits. The characters, though hard to pin down in terms of age (especially the main character, Lidi), are relatable and interesting. The dialogue is cute, without being annoying, and I found a pleasant chuckle or two tucked in the pages. The plot... well, it's derivative of quite a few other plots, including a few religious parables, parts of C.S. Lewis, and particularly "Zabalaawi", a story by an Egyptian writer (if I recall correctly) in which a man searches endlessly for a famous individual, only to fall asleep at a bar and miss the person he was searching for, who comes into the bar while he is sleeping. In the end, the reader is meant to understand (or so I have interpreted it) that the dream the man has while asleep is much more important than the individual he seeks -- the dream contains spiritual truth -- but the man can't see beyond his search. There are some connections there with Lidi, who like the man, can't let go of the one she is searching for. The Lewis/religious connection comes in most strongly at the end, when she finally does meet the one she sought through the whole book, and the reader is presented with an obvious death metaphor. If this review seems convoluted, rest assured that the book is not -- on the surface, this is a story, of certain charm, about seeking and finding magic. Pay attention to the subtext, however, and one may feel that the philosophical or spiritual agenda of the book is a bit muddled. This is what often happens when authors who write YA try to be didactic. In such a short space, plot threads have to form and resolve quickly in order to allow room for all that personal spiritual theory, so many moments in the story -- like the romance between Lidi and Julian -- feel too fast or forced, and those moments that one wishes were more significant or complex or sinister (this book could use a good dose of scary) generally end up being innocuous or simply convenient stepping stones for Lidi's search. There is a lot here, and some of it is good, but knowing what I know now, I would not have been in such a hurry to place this at the top of the stack. ( )
1 vote beserene | Oct 4, 2008 |
Young traveling magician Lidi and her canvasmaster Jericho live a hand to mouth, nomadic existence. Lidi's quest to find the famed magician Ferramondo and learn his fabled rope trick pulls them every southward across Italy, but so far they've discovered nothing but people who've seen the magician (all with conflicting tales), and acquired a pair of extra mouths to feed. Daniella, the Added Attraction, seems to be sporadically psychic, while Julian is simply a young man running from a shameful past. As Lidi grows ever closer to her goal, the threads binding everything and everyone together into the warp and weft of fate become clearer until at last it's possible to slide right through to the other side - a true rope trick.

Ultimately it left me a bit cold. The message is heavy handed, the dialogue and descriptive text is repetitive, and the characters are flat. I never grew attached to Lidi, and Daniella was annoying more than urchin cute. For something similar, instead try some of Alexander's other books, C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader or the majority of Diana Wynne Jones Chrestomanci tales, all of which are more complex and entertaining. ( )
1 vote SunnySD | Jun 17, 2008 |
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your personality. These are just brilliant and fabulous TRX suspension training. The quality of this

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Spalenka, GregCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Lidi was not easy to ignore, especially when flame shot out of her fingertips.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142401196, Paperback)

Lidi is a brilliant magician, able to perform all manner of astonishing illusions. But one trick eludes her, the greatest in the world: the rope trick. And only one person can teach it to her: the legendary magician Ferramondo. On her quest to find him, she joins up with Daniella, an orphan with true prophetic powers; a handsome outlaw with a price on his head; and a circus owner with a troupe of dancing pigs. But when Daniella is kidnapped by men who want to use her gift for their own ends, Lidi must abandon her quest and summon all of her resources&150and magic-working&150to save herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Motivated by her quest to learn a legendary rope trick, the magician Princess Lidi and her troupe embark on a journey through Renaissance Italy that intertwines adventure, love, and mystery.

(summary from another edition)

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