This is the best and possibly last book in this series of fantasy adventure novels for primary and intermediate children and even higher age groups. I loved it.
It is five interlinked stories by five different authors. of the Great Beasts who fought the great battle to defeat Feliander, boy king of Stetriol who became known as the Devourer.
Set in Erdas an Earth like place with five continents and a sub continent it is a place where certain individuals of a young age are bonded in a natural way with a spirit animal for the common good. Now the balance has been change with the invention of Bile, a substance that can allow individuals to artificially bond with animals in a way that is destructive to the lands of Erdas.
Boy king Feliander is the first to take bile and bond with a crocodile. He changes from popular king to a vengeful tyrant hell bent on conquering the whole of Erdas.
The Great Beasts who are part of the natural order of things and keep the world in balance are drawn reluctantly into battle.
It is brilliant story telling that will enthrall the reader. Simply told, five different stories of Feliander and the four Great Beasts – the panda, the leopard. the wolf and the falcon. Outstanding.
The last chapter on the merits of war and the role of humans on this planet are prophetic indeed.
Go on get it and read it.
Earth Dragon, Fire Hare by Ken Catran. Pub. HarperCollins, 2012.
Excellent war story of the communist insurgency in Malaya after World War 2 in 1948 in which NZ soldiers took part. It is very much a forgotten war and Ken Catran has breathed new life into it’s memory.
Written for high school students and young adults it tells the story of two boys, Ng and Peter, starting at the time of the Japanese occupation of Malaya in 1941/42.
Ng is indoctrinated into the communists who are supplied by the British to fight the Japanese. Peter is a NZ boy who enlists in the NZ army after the war and volunteers for the Malayan campaign. He wishes he didn’t.
Ng is Earth Dragon in Chinese Astrology and Peter is Fire Hare. Earth Dragon Follows Fire Hare and the two boys lives are going to become entwined.
A three part novel superbly linked by Ken Catran. His war stories are second to none, his research impeccable and his story telling par excellence.
Read this one if you liked the Moran quartet or want to know about the Malaya Campaign. It’s good! and beware of a sting in the tail.
Jungle Kill by Jim Eldridge. Pub. Egmont, 2010.
War action at its best in language that is easy to handle and in large print with short sentences, short paragraphs and short chapters. Ideal for the reluctant reader with plenty of hooks to keep them reading.
Mitch is a young Brit. with experience in the SAS. he is forced to resign after an operation in Iraq goes wrong and he had a violent disagreement with his platoon leader. Now he has to gain the trust and bond with five other professionals as these elite soldiers battle their way in Nigeria.
The special Black ops unit has to free a politician with plans to end the oil wars in Nigeria. The war in Africa is a dirty war and this novel highlights all the serious wrongs of these wars and the devastating effects that it has on the ordinary people.
Total action all the way and a positive ending. For reluctant readers from Intermediate through to junior secondary.
Boys in particular will love this series.
Chaos Walking book 3: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness. Pub. Walker Books Ltd, 2010.
“It’s war that makes us men in the first place. Until there’s war, we are only children” So sayeth the Mayor of New Prentissville, the scoundrel that Todd considered he had beaten at the end of the Ask and The Answer. This novel addresses that proposition.
To summarise the first two books. This Series is set on a planet that has been colonised by, for want of a better word, humans. Men have been separated from women, and they suffer from a disease that forces them to have no secret thoughts as they can be heard by any other man. This is called noise and the men are controlled by it. The noise is printed as different script.
The native inhabitants of this planet Spackle have been defeated in battle and enslaved by the Ask led by Mayor Prentiss and his hoodlums. Opposition to the Ask is led by Mistress Coyle who leads the women and sympathisers or the Answer.
Todd and Viola are teenagers who are together and are on neither side although they oppose the Mayor and the Ask and loosely support the Answer. They want a peaceful future.
At the end of book 2 the Ask, the Answer and the Spackle had all formed armies and a huge confrontation loomed. To add to the mix, new colonists, led by Viola’s friends Simone and Bradley, land in the middle of the war.What influence will they have?
It is a Battle Royal but is “war the only path to Peace”? A very relevant question in today’s world.
Patrick Ness introduces a third voice aside from Todd and Viola, and this voice represents the Spackle, the voice of an Indigenous people that have been trampled asunder by a colonising power. I am sure many will understand this point of view.
What we have is an ebb and flow of battle and philosophy, in which all the things the reader wanted to know from the first two novels is answered. I cannot say more.
This is the end of the story and it is brilliant. Truely cutting edge writing. Get it and read it. If you haven’t read the other two books then you need to read them in order. A stunning concept well told.