Author: Clark Rich Burbidge
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy/Allegory
Publisher: WinePress Publishing
Although I had no idea what to expect from this book when it arrived in the mail, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. The premise of the story and the plot itself were both good, but the way in which they were executed was less than satisfactory. A huge percentage of the book was taken up with description and explanation, and many times while reading it I found myself thinking "Just get to the point already!".
There was plenty of action in the story - dangerous quests, encounters with with vicious wolves, multiple near-drownings, scaling mountains, and of course encounters with giants - but somehow it failed to capture my interest and arouse any excitement. Each plot point was delivered more like a straightforward statement of fact rather than a dramatic, in-the-moment experience.
There were also a few instances where the author gave details that I happen to know are not accurate. For instance, he mentions that the fireplace in the main character's house is made of 'river stones'. But if there is one thing anybody who's used to building fires knows, it's that you never ever build a fireplace or fire pit or fire ring out of river stones, unless you want to risk blowing yourself to pieces. Most readers probably wouldn't know that, but I can't help finding it annoying when a book contains inaccurate details like that.
I know the book is intended for younger readers, but I feel safe saying that that isn't the reason I found it bland. Some of my favorite books of all time are juvenile fiction, and I've read plenty of books in the genre that have kept me riveted to my seat. This just wasn't one of those books.
I was also a little unsure about the overall message of the story: namely, the importance of learning not to depend too much on others for help and confidence, and of not becoming cowed or bitter when the giants in our lives are taken away (giants in this case being a good thing). The importance of unlocking your own potential and growing to 'become something more' was heavily emphasized. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with utilizing your full potential, but I felt like this story almost turned it more towards self-reliance and didn't emphasize growth in Christ explicitly enough.
Overall, I felt like this book could have been trimmed into a more concise short story, or expanded into a novel, which would have made it possible to deliver the same message naturally, without having to explain and describe so much. Instead, it just fell somewhere in the awkward middle.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my review.