Friday, May 01, 2009

Three books - One author - Reviews

Thanks to Rachel, I've read four new books in the past few days...three by the same author...and here are some reviews...
*PS. None of them are the books that I promised were coming up next...slap on the wrist for me! Sorry!

Megiddo's Shadow by Arthur Slade
0006395686 / 9780006395683
A young adult story set in the time of World War One? And the Canadian prairies? What kind of magic has been bestowed upon me? The first book I've read by Arthur Slade - a Canadian (hooray!) young adult genre author. How often does one experience war and it's consequences through the eyes of a (very) young soldier? The answer: Not very. But, Slade's story of sixteen year old Edward and his journey to bring meaning to, and avenge, the death of his beloved older brother Hector, leaves you wanting more. After enlisting and leaving behind his father, Edward finds himself in a cavalry unit, making friends with his fellow soldiers, bonding with a horse, and finding love with a young nurse named Emily. However, instead of being shipped out to France, where he had hoped to find redemption for Hector's death, he finds himself at the Palestinian front. Under the scorching sun, Edward comes to the realization that war is not all glory and honour, and grows up in a very short period of time. A very definite coming-of-age story, the reader is thrown into the same place as Edward and experiences his sorrows and joys through some wonderfully descriptive passages. As much as the reader yearns for a "happy ending", I was quite pleased to see that the ravages of war are depicted truthfully, and that Edward returns home a changed person. Definitely a book I'd encourage others to read, especially amateur war buffs like myself.
Four and a half balls of yarn

Dust by Arthur Slade
0006485944 / 9780006485940
I can't even compare this novel by Arthur Slade to the previous one, as that would be apples to oranges. I really enjoy his fun use of words and his lovely writing style. What starts off as a seemingly sombre story of a missing child and his family's heart-breaking search for him, turns into a fascinating tale of fantasy and science fiction, which left me shivering with creepy delight. Told through the eyes of 11 year old Robert, Slade uses his wonderful gift for constructing vivid images through his writing, to set the reader in the hot, dry Saskatchewan farmlands. When Robert's younger brother, Matthew, disappears during a walk into town, Robert finds himself torn in two directions - to become blissfully forgetful of Matthew, as his parents have, or to struggle and continue the search for his brother, and the truth behind the mysterious new stranger, Abram Harsich, and his "miraculous" machine that will save the town from drought. Abram is a delightfully spooky villain, and like Megiddo's Shadow, there are subtle undertones of Biblical allegory. I was quite captivated until I got to the end (oops) which suddenly left me feeling a little bit cheated...almost like how I felt at the end of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.
Three balls of yarn

Jolted by Arthur Slade
0006395694 / 9780006395690
Again, such a different story from Arthur Slade, but I could sense the same writing style, and I love it! Fourteen-year-old Newton (brilliant name!) comes from the long line of "death by lightning" Starkers. Apart from his great grandmother, Enid, he's the last of the Starkers and has a long list of rules to "survive" by. He goes to a special school for Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (yay for Canadian settings!) and ends up learning more than just how to find edible bugs in the woods. I found it all pretty brilliant! I loved the descriptive passages, the fun play with words and the creative conventions of the actual layout of the book/story - a diagram of the school's Scottish uniform, recipes (that I will be trying!), excerpts from Newton's Rules for Survival and more. Despite, or perhaps as a result of (!), his fear of his impending doom, Newton manages to form friendships (a big "no-no" from his loving, but deceased, mother), get high marks, whip up gourmet meals, and possibly experience fledgling love. I would gladly hand this to any bored reader, old or young, male or female, and almost DARE them to not enjoy it.
Four balls of yarn

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1 Comments:

Blogger Rachel said...

saving the world from Stephenie Meyer, one Arthur Slade novel at a time.


Glad to be of service.

great reviews. top notch.

five balls of yarn ( for you! )

9:01 PM

 

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