Friday, February 7, 2014

How I've Missed These Illustrations

The Way of Things

     Clark Rich Burbidge 

We all have “Giants” in our lives—individuals that profoundly change and uplift us. They may
be parents, mentors, religious leaders, employers, coaches, teachers, etc. They inspire us to achieve impossible goals and to persevere during troubled times. One day we discover that each one of these "Giants" has passed on. How do we carry on? How do we deal with such sudden changes, especially when others may look to us for that same guidance and support? Is the real question just 'carrying on' or do we owe a greater duty to those who may see us as their "Giants"? These are timeless and ageless questions.

Giants in the Land provides the reader a pathway to overcoming devastating events and teaches that we can, in fact, become more than we otherwise might have been. This story is about a young man, Thomas, and his rite of passage. His search for the missing giants is exciting and dangerous. It will keep you turning the pages as you join him in his great discovery and see him overcome his own great loss. The reader will enjoy the danger and adventure, but they will also discover the "Giant" within and understand what it means 'Live with the Heart of a Giant'.

The Way of Things  is juvenile fiction and it checks all of the boxes that you would expect for juvenile fiction: a rather simplistic plot, illustrations, fairy tale like settings and these things make sense. When you’re reading about it, the book says that it is equally enjoyable by teenagers and adults alike. I don’t agree. The book is too simplistic in execution of plot, and sophisticated in language that any well read person reading it will find themselves being driven up the wall. The word choice, things like “sculpted muscles” and "the fruits of fear borne on the shoulders of..." don’t ring as a juvenile fiction book to me and I find them slightly awkward. It is far too old. However, this is the author’s first juvenile book, so that could go away as he continues writing.

The author tended to mix together metaphors and what was actually happening. In the novel the idea of a giant is both a metaphor and a species of beings that influence what is going on in the book. The back cover of the book says that it helps to identify the giants in your own life, and then we are looking at beings three times our size with metaphors and it gets so confusing. As a children’s book, it is simple enough that if you just glance at it it flows, but when you think about it all I can do at the very least is watch my head spin.

Aside from that (which are easily ignored if you don’t look to closely), I thought the book was charming. The giants had fairy tale-esque names like Forestmaster and Mountainbiter; which I thoroughly enjoyed. The journey scene had all of the typical problems in such creative ways. It was refreshing to read such simplicity. I was sad because the novel didn't go into as much detail as I would have liked, but then the book would've been a lot longer and no longer suitable for juvenile fiction.  

I received a copy of this book and its sequel in exchange for my review. Hardcover, these lovely people gave me a hardcover.

   I have to be honest, I read the sequel. The Prodigals  

I am not going to post a summary for you because spoilers, but I will tell you what I thought. It was okay, the same problems I experienced with the first book, I ran into with the second. These problems could merely be a matter of taste, but I would recommend reading the first one (without buying it) and see what you think. Or, you could read the excerpt I posted in the caption above, that should give you a good idea. If you liked the first one, the second is of the same caliber. There are some violent scenes with a battle, but they aren't gory enough to pose a real problem. I hope you enjoy reading!

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