Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Tears of Min Brock by J. E. Lowder

ISBN #: 978-0615507125
Page Count: 354
Copyright: July 2011
Publisher: Morehouse Media Group, Inc.

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

When Elabea, a girl of fourteen summers, hears a whisper calling her name, she asks, "Is this proof that the land of Claire wasn't destroyed in the Dark War?" But her question ignites fear in her village. "The Oracles of the Cauldron forbid you to speak ... the name! Death will come! We will be cursed!"

Furthermore, when her best friend, Galadin, rallies beside her, the villagers divulge a dark secret: their fathers were the only survivors of the massacre at Min Brock. Forged as outcasts of their own homes and village, they fear the worst when the Cauldron sends warriors to destroy them.

Desperate, they flee to Claire where Elabea is promised to become an all-powerful storyteller and Galadin a great warrior. But does Claire exist? And if it does, will it be an ally or a greater foe?

Battling whispers warriors and mysterious creatures, Elabea and Galadin must also contend with the darker questions about their fathers' past and the ... Tears of Min Brock.

Kathy's Review:

As the book began, I thought the characters of Elabea and Galadin reminded me of Katniss and Gale from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Loyal to each other, they have each others' backs, and they dream of a life outside the oppressed town in which they live. The townspeople look down upon them and ostracize them because of their fathers, who are former warriors now living with incredible guilt. Elabea's father deals with his feelings by drinking, while Galadin's father has simply gone crazy.

There is a classic battle of good vs. evil in this story, as well as some underlying themes of loyalty, faith, believing in yourself and your abilities, that I think are very relatable. Elabea and Galadin are tested many times throughout the story, and question themselves and their purpose. Each time, they have to rely on each other, or look deeply within, to be able to get past whatever roadblock is standing in their way (many times a life-or-death situation!).

A second, parallel storyline centers around another boy who has received the same calling as Elabea who also journeys to the same destination. Lassiter is a young boy who doesn't know much about his past, and is protected by Newcomb, a father-figure who knows everything and keeps it a secret from the boy. They pick up a minstrel, DeMorley, on their journey, who provides some comic relief in the story.

Each of the main characters is compelling in their own way. They are flawed people with real emotions and dreams. For instance, Elabea and Galadin both have the beginnings of romantic feelings for each other, but neither one acts upon it because of the challenge they face. DeMorley is a petty thief who tells lies to save his skin, and winds up in more trouble.

This is also the beginning of a series, which I didn't realize as I was reading. As I got closer and closer to the end, I kept thinking, how is this all going to be resolved? The answer is - it doesn't. I guess I will have to wait until the next book to find out what happens!

Overall, a very enjoyable story that I am looking forward to continuing. According to the author, this started as a bedtime story he would tell his children. From that grew an amazing world with a ton of possibilities! I hope to see a lot more of this series from this author.

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