Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Erik Hare; Downriver

Popey is a Hopneg. A Hopneg, in the book Downriver by Eric Hare, is a small gnome. Popey has been rudely awakened by the powerful influence the Giants (we humans) have on his world and over the welfare of his people. We ‘Giants’ keep spreading out, and the Hopnegs have to keep moving… Popey wants to find a way to fight the giants so his people are not consistently at their mercy; but his people are resigned to the traditions, and follow the ways they’ve always followed ~ subject to ancient rules imposed upon them by their ‘book’.

Popey defies this paradigm of tradition imposed by the ‘book’; he feels it necessary to expand his horizons, and to find ways to help his people by exploring the world beyond his own. So he sets out to find a way to fight the blundering Giants, who uproot his people again and again.

He finds a wise traveling companion on his journey, Shajee. Shajee has a myriad of lessons to teach Popey; helping him to better understand the Giants and their world, teaching him about his journey and ultimately to better understand himself.

Downriver is a less a young person’s fantasy as it is a book of life-lessons. It doesn’t preach, the lessons it provides are subtle and wise; and it applies to a broad audience of young people.

It took a while for me to get into the flow of the book, and it is not because of the writing. The writing was quite good. The problem was the formatting. This is a perfect example of how a good book can be brought down by questionable formatting and a lack of editing. I very nearly put the book down—but I did not. Why? Because ultimately, the story carried itself.

Given a thorough editing, and having the book reformatted, this book would be more than exceptional for its category. It’s a heartwarming, whimsical, but true-to-life fantasy. It takes a setting and characters that are charming and sweet; and then blends in the realities of life that we are faced with; from our most basic priorities, our decision-making, to taking responsibility for our choices.

I give Downriver 4 medallions.

Author: Erik Hare

Publisher: AuthorHouse (October 10, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420887165
ISBN-13: 978-1420887167