Going stir crazy yet? Until the weather improves… which, let’s face it, in Seattle, spring is going to be a cool, wettish tease as usual. Which means finding inside entertainment when I need a break.
There are always books to read. However, I recently ran into a few Netflix series that were really quite good. I’ll discuss two here, and two in the next installment.
The first is The Letter for the King. In this story, 15-year-old Tiuri struggles to succeed in a competition in order to become a knight to win his father’s approval. Only, it’s very apparent he’s not knight material, at least physically.
He somehow manages to eek out a place in the final challenge with a few other teens who are told: pray in the chapel and don’t open the door for any reason until dawn. If the door is opened, the entire group will fail.
Naturally, there’s a banging on the door and a cry for help. Tiuri reasons that a knight is supposed to help regardless of cost. Against the wishes of the others, he opens the door and runs out with the servant. This moment sends him on a dangerous quest to get a letter to the king’s hands in time to save the kingdom. He’s hounded every step of the way by factions who don’t want that letter delivered and also chased by the teen knight-wannabes since they can overcome their failure and still become knights if they capture Tiuri and bring him back.
I liked the story well enough to binge straight through. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the twist surprise. In some ways, it’s nice to sidestep the usual expectations. But on the other, I wished the person involved had more screen time.
If you like teen coming of age fantasy, you should watch this series.
Or, better yet, get the book, written by Tonke Dragt, a Dutch author, in 1961.
Yes, 1961! I bought it, but haven’t had time to sit down and read it yet. I’m very curious to see how I like the changes from the book to the series. I’m also hoping we have another season. There is a second book in case you enjoy the first.
The other series I binged recently was Luna Nera. This is an Italian series but dubbed in English, though I tossed on the subtitles and got a kick at the differences between the two. This is another teen-based series about a girl who ‘feels’ the baby inside a mother’s womb dying and makes the mistake of saying such out loud. Sure enough, when the baby dies the girl and her grandmother are accused of being witches. Her grandmother hides a book of spells and tells the girl to run into the middle of the forest, look for a special place, and keep her little brother safe. From there, it turns into a series involving increased fear of witches, forbidden love, and the girl learning about her powers.
There were a large number of plot holes you could drive a truck through. I think the biggest beef I had was why didn’t the grandmother send the book with the girl as she ran into the woods. Oh, because then it wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands and cause all sorts of problems. Or better yet, why was she living in the village when the other witches were in their hidden sanctuary? Or, how did those hidden witches have money to spend when they didn’t have jobs? But the story was still interesting enough to keep my attention despite these flaws.
This tale also had a twist, well actually two of them, which turned out to be a catalyst for the main character’s choice at the end. I really liked them and wonder what the girl will do next. Hopefully, there is a season 2 coming.
This story is also based on a book, The Lost Cities, written by Tiziana Triana. Unfortunately, unless you know Italian, you’ll have to wait and see if it gets an English translation. Waaaah!