Monday, May 13, 2013

MG Book Review: The Boy Who Flew with Eagles, by Ben Woodard

General Information
Publisher: Ben Woodard (self-published)
Year of publication: 2011
# of chapters: 10
# of pages: (e-book, 7500 words)
Genre: Myth/Fantasy

Plot summary (from Goodreads):
Famine. A giant eagle. And a boy who would be prey.

The book combines excitement, adventure, and the dream of all humans. To fly. Naa'ki, a boy snatched by a giant eagle, must use his wits and knowledge to survive. And to save his people and animals from starvation. To succeed, he will have to give up his future.

Positive Points
This book had a traditional legend feel to it, even though it's a brand new, original story. The book starts with an old man telling this story to children around a campfire at midnight, and I could imagine sitting there with them, listening to this legend. The author definitely has storytelling talents to hook me right from the beginning and keep my attention until the end. The epilogue wrapped up the story well, bringing us back to the original scene where we're sitting around a fire listening to the old man.

I'm a big fan of stories set in nature, especially one that teaches about animals and their behaviors. This one had some fantastic elements woven into it but also a lot of true facts and realistic settings. I loved the values in this book, which I assume are typically Native American: respecting nature, communicating with animals, and sharing the resources. The story being a legend, I was already expecting some lesson to be learned through this story, and I was not disappointed. In contemporary novels, this would be perceived as a bit "preachy," but in a legend, it fits perfectly with the style and feels natural. It's even expected.

Negative Points
The only thing that bothered me was the punctuation (many, many misplaced commas, among other things) and sentence fragments. A little editing would make this story shine even more. I often decline reviewing (and even reading) a novel that has grammar errors in it, but I was intrigued by the setting and I just kept reading, turning off my internal editor.

What makes this book unique
The myth genre is one I don't come across very often (I had to look it up to find out if it was actually a genre). We live in a fast-paced culture where novels are often packed with nonstop action and dazzling scenes. It was refreshing to read this quiet story, told by an old man around a campfire.

Overall Impression
This book reminded me of My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. It was very short and easy to read. The length was perfect for this type of story.

My Rating:

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

1 comment:

Ben Woodard said...

Thanks for the wonderful review, Ann. I certainly appreciate it.

And thanks for pointing out the commas. I'm not good with grammar, so I had the book professionally proofread. It will go back to be checked again.


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