Song for a Scarlet Runner was picked up by me because I saw Julie Hunt was a Tasmanian author, and I am always interested to see what stories my old home state is producing. I was also a fan of Hunt's picture book 'The Coat'. I knew I would like Song for a Scarlet Runner because it fitted so perfectly into my favourite kind of book - middle-grade fantasy adventure, coming of age story, quirky, a quest of sorts. Hunt's book had all these things, plus two very important extras - humour, and a strong, independent, brave lead female character, Peat.
I loved the worlds that Hunt takes us into - from the boggy marshes with the cranky, crazy old Aunties; to the surreal nightmarescape of the Siltman; to the little villages and Town Hubs full of all sorts of oddball hustle and bustle. Peat's story moves along at a rapid pace, although I found I only truly got involved once Peat left the Overhang. I really enjoyed Peat's ambition and her desire to learn about the world beyond what she knows - she is inquisitive without ever being annoying or overbearing.
Hunt has created a charming cast of supporting characters. I loved the Aunties and their meddling, magical ways; I love Siltboy with his butterfly mind and lovable way of speaking (I have since read it is based on Anglo-Saxon poets). But my favourite character was by far the Sleek, who was naughty and infuriating, but one of those animal sidekick characters so completely lovable, I very near cared more about him than about Peat. Trust me, you'll love this guy and his attitude.
I thought Song for a Scarlet Runner was told in a lovely old-fashioned style, and I love the sense of adventure that runs through it. I also love that this is also a book about the magic and power of story-telling, and there is a strong folklore theme. Peat is a wonderful little character, and the story has a lot to say about courage and selflessness. I was thoroughly charmed by this book.