Yesterday’s stalling tactic was successful–I’ve finished reading Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow and am now prepared to deliver some scintillating commentary on it.
Or maybe I’ll just talk about it a little.
Quick synopsis: Hunter Brown is a fairly ordinary, underachieving kid who has the usual problems with school, bullies, and a fractured family. One day, he acquires a mysterious book under mysterious circumstances that leads him into a world much stranger than anything he ever imagined. He has a special destiny in this world that requires him to complete a quest culminating in a showdown with the forces of darkness. Along the way, he learns a lot about himself and the value of friendship, truth, endurance, trust, and self-sacrifice.
Quick reaction: I liked it. Any tweener on your gift list will probably enjoy it very much, and if they’re not careful, they, like Hunter, might learn something before they’re done. The Brothers Miller have created a rollicking adventure that moves at a fast clip, is filled with likable characters, weaves a plethora of puzzles and riddles into the plot, and prepares the way for future installments of Hunter’s adventures.
Random observations: These aren’t pros & cons so much as a list of things in the story that stood out for me.
- I Don’t Think This Means What You Think It Means: Not too surprisingly, there’s a lot of allegory in this story, which will be more or less obvious depending on the reader’s background. It makes some very definite statements about God’s sovereignty and how God’s will and human will interact that had a strong Calvinist tone, in my opinion–again, not a criticism, just an observation.
- He’s Dead, Jim: As with any book for kids this age, parents ought to look it over to ensure they’re comfortable with the content and that it’s appropriate for their child. There are some requisite “ew, gross” moments. There’s a fair bit of hacking and slashing with swords and claws. People are hurt, and people, including some of the good guys, die. One particular death is rather shocking for a book at this age level, in my opinion, but maybe I just don’t get out enough.
- She’s Really Not That Into You: Having a daughter, I’m always looking at how female characters are portrayed. There are only three or four girls in this story, but they’re strong, courageous, and resourceful, with the possible exception of Hunter’s annoying kid sister. The female lead is key to the story without becoming Hunter’s girlfriend. The Millers state on their webpage that they’re focusing on stories boys would enjoy reading, but I think girls would like this story just fine.
- Just an Amazing Simulation: There are some strong echoes of the usual spec-fic suspects, including Narnia, LOTR, and Star Wars, but nothing that feels like a blatant lift from those works.
Tomorrow: Reaction to other CSFF Blog Tour posts, and perhaps some cookies.
For more discussion of Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow, please visit the other fine sites on this month’s tour:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson
Amazon link Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow