Friday, November 9, 2007

Wilderking Trilogy, Part 3

Title: The Way of the Wilderking

Series: The Wilderking Trilogy #3
Author: Jonathan Rogers

Genre: Mid-grade (8-12) Adventure

Excerpt from “Intruder in the Swamp,” chapter one of The Way of the Wilderking:

A civilizer captured in the Feechiefen. More civilizers on the way with cold-shiny spears and swords and axes and saws. The swamp was abuzz with rumors of new civilizer trouble. When the news reached Bug Neck, Dobro Turtlebane and Aiden Errolson—or Patherbane, as the feechies knew him—left immediately. They poled all night for Scoggin Mound, where Chief Tombro’s feechies held the captured civilizer.

The chill of morning was still on the air when Aidan caught his first glimpse of the towering spruce pines of Scoggin Mound. Well before they could see the island itself, the high, nasally shouts and squeals of a dozen excited wee-feechies carried across the black water to the ears of the two flatboaters.

Then, above the wee-feechies’ shrill racket echoed a deeper, prolonged scream—a scream of fear and helpless. It couldn’t have come from a feechie.

An eighteen-year-old prophesied king struggles to stop the rebellion building in his name.

The Writing: Just like the first two books, The Way of the Wilderking is a great read. Good, likeable characters—I especially enjoyed Dobro Turlebane—and some interesting twists on the familiar story of David’s ascension to the throne of Israel. But the strongest element of the whole trilogy, and especially of The Way of the Wilderking, is the humor. Even if there had been little else in favor of this book, the humor would have still made it a worthwhile read.

The Way of the Wilderking, however, is not flawless. Like the previous two books, it fights the problems of head-hopping (changing point of view within a scene) and narrator intrusion. But at worse, they are a minor annoyance that hardly impedes the reading of this story.

Of greater concern is the ending. This closes out not only the book, but also the entire series, making the impression it leaves especially lasting. And unfortunately, at least for me, the ending was wanting. A wrap-up chapter is necessary, but the epilogue tried to tie up not just loose ends, but the remainder of the characters’ lives. The result was a bunch of telling what would happen, instead of showing what is happening, and the emotional impact necessary for a trilogy’s end was bled dry. I might be wrong, but I think it would have much more effective to tie up the loose ends in the present with a little foreshadowing, leaving the future to the reader’s imagination. Most readers, especially kids, will readily supply the “and they lived happily ever after,” unless given extensive evidence to the contrary.

The Story: Clean and straightforward, The Way of the Wilderking continues the great themes begun in book one, such as simply living the life placed before you, without too much preachiness. In keeping with the story of David, there is a battle and a death of a beloved character near the end, but it is done tactfully, without gore or graphic violence.

The Summary: Although the epilogue is a bit of a disappointment, overall this is an emotionally satisfying conclusion to an entertaining and funny trilogy for all ages.

Rating: 4.3 of 5

Order book three, The Way of the Wilderking, here.

(Don't forget to check out the reviews for books one and two!)

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