Children of the Wise Oak by Oliver J Tooley

Children of the Wise Oak by Oliver J Tooley

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Children of the Wise Oak

by Oliver J Tooley

“Children of the Wise Oak” is an epic journey written in a magical world where the Celtic-Roman era meets magic and mythology. It reminds me of Assaf Mehr’s Felix the Fox’s world only slightly more suitable for younger readers (led philosophical if you may).

Blyth and his younger brothers live in a remote Celtic village, in a lifestyle and surrounding of harsh survival where the tribe is put above all. When his father returns from distant lands, with apocalyptic prophecies that involves the newly formed Roman Republic – they are forced to flee from home. Guided by Gwenn, a powerful mage who knew their father, their journey leads them across the continent straight to the heart of the Roman Republic. They learn magic and shapeshifting, they come across new people and cultures and they learn to admire the amazing Roman architecture which is a million light years advance from anything they ever knew.

This book is the first in the “Wise Oak” series, the second being published soon, which has excited me a lot. I don’t tend to read fantasy, but the historical accuracy is so refined that I almost forget about the magical elements in the novel. In a sense – it can get teenagers to relate to historical event and would be appealing to mature readers with Tooley’s great figurative language and carrying imagery.
Looking forward to the next one!

 
The Painted Ocean by Gabriel Packard

The Painted Ocean by Gabriel Packard

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The Painted Ocean

by Gabriel Packard

The book tells the story of a young Indian-English girl called Shruti. The most miserable girl in the world, left by her father, given up to foster care by her mother and truly has no one in the world to care for her. Her so called saviour – a horrible Indo-English girl called Meena, is the queen of the class, a spoiled brat that though comes through at times for Shruti, takes her on a bogus adventure in India during college years. That’s as much plot as I can give without ruining it.
I am very ambiguous about this book: on one hand I was reading it to keep seeing how it concludes and to hope for a good ending… on the other, the story line is so implausible that it angers me. The only reason this has earned 3 stars from me is the fact that it brought out emotions out of me and that I was curious to see it through. Otherwise, I would have given it a much lower score and I’ll explain why:
– The narrative is set out to be juvenile, since the story teller is a young girl, but at some point it started getting on my nerve. Grammatically it’s terrible reading sentences that keep starting with “And” and I just about had it at one point.
– The story line is terrible… It first looked like some kind of a cross-over between “the Beach” and “Slumdog Millionaire”, so I was thinking to myself – okay this had been done in the past, but that could be a fun read. Then the other half of the book is takes a turn to the worst. I cannot even place this in a genre, it goes over memoir,. Thriller, general fiction? young adult? (I hope not!) … where do I place this book? I am still struggling with understanding the wrapped up fast ending, and placing it in real-life context – spoiler alert: if anyone can explain to me how to travel from Asia to the UK with a fishermen’s boat, a GPS and no sailing experience – please send me an email.
– Last, the characters are hollow, the only thing with a sort of dimension is Shruti and her cynical take on things (driven from her bad experience in life), which just makes you want to pity the human race. There is not a single complex, elaborated character that is not scheming or basically is a horrible person.
In conclusion, I suffered through this book. It provoked feelings from me of irritation and sadness, and that is the only reason I gave it a relatively average plus score. I was not impressed with the story nor from the writing, I’m genuinely sorry to say.