AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
A retelling of the ancient epic poem, aimed primarily at children. However, don't let its target audience put you off if you're an adult reader, you still may enjoy this book. As with all good tellers of children's tales, Sutcliff never talks down to the reader, meaning that the prose is entirely comfortable for adults too.
The story is the episodic retelling of the great hero Beowulf's most famous adventures, including his battles with Grendel and Grendel's mother, as well as his death facing the monstrous fire-drake. Personally, I found Grendel to be far and away the best element of the book, representing the archetypal monster that comes to get us in the night.
Understand, this is no great, epic work of literature (it's less than a hundred pages long) but if you accept it in the spirit it was clearly intended, then you'll probably enjoy it. One thing that may put most people off, however, is the fact that it costs almost as much as a novel five times its length.
4 out of 5