Monday, November 12, 2012

MG Book Review: Children of Midian, by Jay Eckert

General Information
Publisher:  Jay Eckert
Year of publication: 2012
# of chapters: 29
# of pages: (e-book)
Genre: Fantasy

Plot summary (from Amazon):
How do you defeat the bad guys who exist only because you believe in them? Now, imagine there isn’t a single dull-minded adult around. What would you do now? This is the challenge facing fourteen-year-old Elliot Hanson, an army brat who careens into the ethereal land of Midian from which he cannot return.

Aside from his younger sister, he’s got no friends in their new hometown. Yet, this is exactly what he finds in the children of Midian. He also finds a legion of werewolves set against them by the evil Lycaon. What’s worse, rumors are flying about a weapon to wipe Elliot and his new friends off the map. He can’t let that happen, even if he finds a way back home.

But then Lycaon’s wolves capture his parents, and his sister joins him in Midian. Now, it's no longer just the children of Midian who need help. Can he thwart Lycaon's plans and save everyone before it's too late?

Positive Points
The characters are very real and endearing, especially Elliot and his little sister, Maggie. I felt like I knew them well by the end of the book. Maggie cracked me up! The author did a good job capturing the essence of a little girl. I also liked Mara a lot, the leader of all the children in Midian and a child herself, with a touch of magic. Elliot liked her a lot too, apparently.

The villains were original: human-wolves called Garou, and their leader Lycaon, a tall man in a cloak that travels by chariot. The Garou are known for their stench, a good way to add the sense of smell in the story, which is often overlooked in novels. Love the Garou's voices! Garou reminds me of loup garou in French, which means werewolf.

Worldbuilding, which is essential in fantasy novels, is very well done in this book. I could picture Midian clearly in my mind, a world with only children living in small huts. Their little world is separated from Lycaon's realm by boulders that act as a gate to protect the children of Midian. I can't reveal the secret way to go through them. You'll have to read the book!

Negative Points
The many subplots and multiple POVs made it harder for me to connect with the main character's situation and what he wanted. I found it a bit distracting. Some plot points were unclear to me, like how the weapon worked and where the gateway connections led. But then again, I'm not a child. Maybe a kid's imagination can capture it better than I did.

What makes this book unique
So many things make this book special! The setting, a world with no adults; the Garou and their very interesting way of talking; the weapon, something so complex I can't even describe it; and many other things that would be too long to enumerate, not to mention an awful place called the pit!

Overall Impression
Overall an awesome read, both for boys and girls. I wish it could be made into a movie. I also really love the cover, mysterious and a bit dark, just like the book it illustrates.

My Rating:

Thinking of purchasing this book? I'll make it easy for you:


Jay said...

Thanks so much, Annie!!!!

Annie McMahon said...

You're welcome, Jay! I loved reading your book.

Akoss said...

Thank you for such a detailed review. :)

DMS said...

Overall, this sounds like a book with a lot going for it. I like that the author did such a good job worldbuilding. Great review!

Yanting Gueh said...

The worldbuilding and weaponry parts might be a little complicated for me, but I believe my teen students will enjoy this. Thanks for sharing 'Children of Midian' with us, Annie (and for popping by CarryUsOff earlier)!

*The cover looks great.

Emailman said...

Another great review, Annie :) I have to say, i have read this myself, and it is a fantastic read. You're a great story teller, Jay!

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