Rated Reads

The Transall Saga

by Gary Paulsen

Rated: Mild

Thirteen-year-old Mark is out hiking, an activity that he really enjoys, when he sees a strange blue tube of light. After he accidentally falls into it, all of a sudden, the landscape surrounding him looks much different: the grass is even red. At first, he’s afraid he’s hallucinating, but then he realizes that somehow that odd light took him somewhere else entirely.

Thus begins a new life for him, in which he must figure out a way to survive in a strange new environment. He finds a place to sleep and food to eat and makes friends with a funny little monkey-bear creature. But eventually, he ends up meeting other people. They look different and, of course, speak a different language, but he becomes part of their tribe, which is rather primitive.

Mark spends a long time in this new place and learns a new way of life. But he still hopes to find the blue light again and to find his way home. In the meantime, he must live as the tribes in the new world live — violence, battles, slavery and all.

I wouldn’t want to say much more about what happens to Mark because the most fascinating thing about the book is discovering where his journey takes him. I admit that it didn’t go the way I thought in many ways. As the book (and time) progressed, I did find myself rooting for Mark, in different ways, and being very curious as to what happened next to him.

Rated: Mild, for minimal language and some fairly mild violence.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Transall Saga
  • by Gary Paulsen
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: