Worth a Look: “New World” by Steven W. White

“Across the sea lies a newly discovered continent, a world whose forests and beasts are unknown to the recorded memory of elves, dwarves, or men.

In this land called Mira, the brutal sacking of a young colony links the fates of two opposite characters: a twelve-year-old printer’s son named Simon Jones and his long-lost uncle Tiberius Bogg, one of Mira’s legendary mountain men.

Simon is small, but smart; scared but determined. Bogg, with his raccoon-skin cap and smart-talking grammar abuse, is fast as a splintercat and stealthy as a hidebehind. Together, they turn the tables and pursue their attackers (a cruel knight and his soldiers from the old country) through a wilderness full of extraordinary creatures – jackelopes and thunderbirds, fur-bearing trout and four-legged hills – all culled from American tall tales, Indian legends, and backwoods folklore.”

This ‘frontier fantasy’ novel from 2011 by Steven W. White is a lot of fun.  It is a creative amalgamation of folktales, legends, and myths all held together with the strings of a rich fantasy covering.  It mixes everything almost perfectly…almost.

The book is at its best over the course of the heroes’ pursuit of the villainous knights.  This time is full of action and acts as the vehicle for some very interesting world-building.  I love the world White has created and the characters sucked me in.  Bogg is an unlikely, yet likeable hero.  Simon holds his own as a “fish-out-of-water” boy determined to satisfy his desire for revenge.

The one (minor) gripe I have with the book is the rather abrupt and almost rushed feel of the ending.  It is still a highly entertaining adventure and I look forward to reading the follow-up.

New World

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