The Book of the Dun Cow and The Flaming Sword

The Book of  Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.
I was recently gifted with The Book of Dun Cow by Emily Shiflet with the promise that it would probably end up in my Favorite Books list. That’s quite a promise, but not a vain one.

The Book of the Dun Cow is a beast fable written in a style that is a bit more telling than showing at times and strongly steeped in myth and Christianity. It has some of the most beautiful prose that I have ever read, some wonderful characters, a heart wrenching plot, and so many truths woven skillfully into a gripping story.

This is a book you savor. You could devour it in a few hours, but it’s so beautiful, you want to take a bite or two and then wait, letting those digest fully, before you take another bite.

The weird part about this book is its intensity. I have struggled with where to put it. It’s considered a YA book, but there is some language, a gruesome scene with the villain, and a depth that only gets deeper with age and re-reading. It reminds me a lot of Watership Down in that way. Yes, it’s a story about animals, but no, it’s not for little kids. It’s for older kids. It’s like Lord of the Rings. We often read it to high schoolers, but it’s really for adults…or it grows as we grow requiring a re-reading.

I would have loved this at 14 or so, but I don’t know that I would have grasped all the different layers of humanity and truth at that time. It is truly a book for all ages and one that should be revisited regularly.

Rated: PG-13: intensity, war, language (mild), adult situations (very well written, just sad and to an adult, a bit disturbing)

The Flaming Sword, Book Two of the Tethered World Chronicles by Heather L. L. FitzGerald

The long anticipated sequel to the Tethered World is about to make its appearance. If you loved going on an adventure with Sadie, Sophie, Brady and Brock to the Tethered World to rescue their parents, you won’t be disappointed when they return.

Filled with political intrigue, factions, unexpected enemies, a coming war, and the Larcen family again in danger, Book 2 ratchets up the action and builds towards book 3.

I loved watching Sadie’s character grow as she was tried and tested in some terrifying ways. For fear of spoilers, I won’t talk about my favorite moments with her, but they were many. Her dealings with her dad, the trolls, a nasty villain or two, and her Aunt Jules gave her plenty of opportunities to practice being brave. I was glad to see her rise to the occasion while relying on truth and the love of her family. I enjoyed having parts of the story told from Brady’s perspective. They helped balance out Sadie’s reluctance to adventure and showed Brady growing from boy to man. Heather skillfully jumped from one to the other giving us a very fleshed out story.

There were a few moments I expected the punch to be pulled and it wasn’t. I’m thankful for that…I can’t say more. Spoilers. ☺ Go get the book!

This series is excellent for introducing your family to fantasy. It allows the reader to meet creatures of myth without feeling like they’re trying to learn a whole new language, and with Sadie as the main character, those more reluctant to jump into an adventure are represented. Heather FitzGerald wanted to write a family-safe story that honored home-schoolers, the autistic, and Christianity. She’s done all that with loads of fun heaped on top.

While I missed Sophie’s unflappable courage, I think her being sidelined gave Sadie a chance to find her own courage when faced with ultimate and horrible choises.The slightly anticlimactic ending drove me to look excitedly towards Book 3. I can’t wait to get my hands on the last book of the Tethered World Chronicles.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book and am giving it an honest review.

Rated PG: intensity and war

Pre-order for $2.99: coming Nov 1!!!