By: Julie Eshbaugh
Published: June 14, 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss ARC from publisher
(Goodreads / Amazon)
The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.MY REVIEW:
Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.
Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in a tangle of their pasts.
When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.
Initially this book reminded me of my grandfather who would tell us stories as children about "Michael Blue Sky and the Great Buffalo". My grandfather was a wonderful story teller. He made up these stories about Native Indians and the chief's son (named after my brother, the oldest of the grandchildren). We have Indian heritage in our family, Creek Indians to be exact, but that's another story for another time. Suffice it to say that my interest in our own family history and the stories I grew up listening to led me to request this title.
This story is about an indigenous clan, the Manu. The oldest son, 17 year old Kol, is the story teller. He along with his brothers are in a clan of about 25 people and there are no unmarried girls their age. Their hope for the survival of their clan rests upon their finding mates among other nearby clans. But in a time where females are promised to a certain male, finding "love" isn't always possible. Finding the strongest mates to help the furtherance of each clan is what is most important.
Indigenous people were superstitious and this plays a part in the story. They hunt buffalo as their main source of food but the buffalo have mostly moved further south so they have learned to use the sea and it's animals, such as seals, for their needs as well.. Like Indians from old times past, every part of the buffalo, or seal, or tiger or whatever they kill, is used. Nothing goes to waste. The fur for shelter, blankets and clothing. The bones for weapons and cooking utensils, etc... The time frame is unclear but one of their predators are saber tooth tigers, so it's safe to say this story takes place a long time ago in history.
I do have a pretty major irritation that I'm sure won't be a popular opinion among readers. Given the time frame, the history and culture of the native Indians and indigenous people, knowing that these small clans depend on aligning with others to further their race, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for there to be mentioned that one of the clan leaders is "gay". In a culture where marriage between a male and a female is crucial for procreation (or else the clan will die off) this insertion into the story grated on my nerves! Come on?!? That is so unrealistic for the historical context of this story.
Kol and the next oldest brother Pek, are both of marrying age and their parents are trying very hard, too hard maybe, to win the affections of a neighboring tribes two oldest daughters: Mya and Seeri. But Seeri is promised to the best friend of her brother and Mya seems to now have extreme distaste in Kol. (Enter clan number two with daughters.) Another clan with eligible females (Shava and Lo) arrives on their shore. Then comes the bigger plot of the story, a feud between the clans the females all belong to. Kol is stuck in the middle and has to make a decision who to fight alongside with and who to trust.
This book is one of the more descriptive books I've read in a long time. Perhaps that's due to the rich, colorful setting of the story. Sometimes I almost felt it was too descriptive, but overall, it definitely helped my mind to paint the picture of the scenes.
There's a great battle near the end and there's some sadness. The ending pleased me though and brought a smile to my face. 100% clean content so this would be suitable for younger teens as well.
Stay in the present, I tell myself. Let the past go.
It's odd, I think, how the thing you love most in a person can also be the thing you sometimes wish you could change.
"Ignorance never protected anyone for long."
Friendship requires truth, and there is no truth in her.
"But in the end, it happened as they say - you die the way you live."
...a cave or a hut or a boat out on the sea - wherever she is, I'll be with her, and I'll be home.
Language Rating: 0 (none)
Mature Content Rating: 0 (none)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars