The Illyrian Adventure by Lloyd Alexander

There has never been a better opening paragraph than this one:

Miss Vesper Holly has the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master.  She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear fluently in all of them.  She understands the use of a slide rule but prefers doing calculations in her head.  She does not hesitate to risk life and limb–mine as well as her own.  No doubt she has other qualities as yet undiscovered.  I hope not.

Now that is a heroine.  From the first page (and every page thereafter) I was completely enthralled by Vesper’s persuasive wit.  Added to the fantastic characters was a really fun plot–an Indiana Jones-type treasure-seeking adventure.  The book is short, and its brevity quickens the novel’s pace.  Where modern YA books might describe long treks through the jungle or every detail of a banquet, Alexander bypasses these scenes with clever paragraphs that add to the dry humor of the story.

I really enjoyed reading about Vesper and Brinnie’s adventures, and I will definitely be on the lookout for more in the series in future. Continue reading