(Heartkeeper Saga #1)
by B.T. Lyons
by B.T. Lyons
Genre: MG Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic
Publication: July 6, 2013 by Clean Teen Publishing
Mankind has survived the near-collapse of life as they knew it, now living in harmony with the world around them. Adain, a young Tenderfoot of this Future Earth, is about to take part in his Heart Chase – the search for a animal spirit that will act as his companion and conscience for the rest of his life. Success in the Heart Chase and surviving the subsequent Trials over the year ensures his place amongst the People as an adult, but failure means his certain death...and his whole future lies on the Heart of a mouse.
Heartkeeper is the first book in the Heartkeeper Saga, an epic adventure of friendship, challenges, and danger as humans struggle to regain their foothold in a new world that is no longer theirs to control. Can they survive in balance with the Earth, or will the Earth decide they no longer belong?
◆ A copy was provided by Clean Teen Publishing for review ◆
Heartkeeper is a unique, magical story that imparts valuable life lessons on living in harmony with the land, people, and animals.
Children going through trials to find and bond with an animal spirit that will stay with them for life? I knew immediately that this book was made for the child within me. Since a young age, I've been in love with stories where people and animals interact with each other. My favorite Disney princess growing up was Pocahantas because she had so many animal friends, and animals play prominent roles in many of my favorite childhood reads. I'm also a believer in magic (in books). Heartkeeper combines these ideas together in a world where humans must make room in their hearts for an animal spirit and follow its guidance if they are to survive.
Adain is one of many thirteen-year-old Tenderfoots going through a year of trials that will make adults of them. Trials that will determine the goodness in their hearts and whether they can uphold the covenant that humans made to live in harmony with the Land He's quiet and unassuming, a thinker and diligent worker with a keen eye for observation. It's because of his watchful eye that he notices danger emerging in the community, and it's because of his caring heart that he becomes involved in the flow of change. Nothing about him stands out in particular. Adain is an ordinary boy who just so happens to become involved in events, which I appreciate. The world needs more ordinary heroes to inspire us.
The story was much too short for one that covers such a long span of time. While I appreciate a simple, straightforward plot now and then, this story has the potential to be so much more. I felt as if more developments ought to have taken place. It would have been better for the story to be split into two or three separate novels that spend more time detailing various events that take place. There isn't much to the plot other than the enemy that Adain has his eye on. I would have liked to see more of the trials and what Adain and the other Tenderfoot do over the course of the year. More danger and intrigue could have been introduced, as well as the budding of friendships, first loves, and other things that happen during this period of life.
Still, I love this story for the magical, compelling world and for the inspiration. Most post-apocalyptic books out there are about humans struggling to rebuild civilization after its collapse, and it makes sense. It's what we expect humans to do after the end of the world as we know it. Few of them dwell long on the impact of the "apocalypse" on the land and how humans will try to commune with it, and I love how Heartkeeper does this.
There are so many valuable life lessons to gain from this story. Heartkeeper is about the transition between childhood and adulthood, when you learn that the adults and guardians you trusted aren't so invincible and all-knowing like you thought they were. It is about making a place for yourself in a world where you have to grow up faster than you like. It is about friendship and betrayal, honesty and integrity, and self-discovery. While the target audience looks to be younger MG readers, I believe that readers of all ages will enjoy this one.