Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Book Review: Shadow Riders by B.J. Bayle
In 1874, after their father is wounded by hard men who have stolen a number of mares and Smokey, a prized stallion, 15-year-old Rob McCann and his adopted Native brother, Luke, ride frantically to Fort Ellice, Manitoba, in the vain expectation that the horse rustlers have stopped there. Learning that a new force called the North-West Mounted Police has come west, the brothers continue south to locate them and ask for help.
The NWMP commander, Colonel George French, desperately attempts to have the boys escorted home. However, the brothers manage to tag along on the 800-mile march of NWMP men and wagons headed for Fort Whoop-Up, in what will one day be Alberta, with the hope that they will catch up with the thieves.
Besides the terrible life-threatening hardships brought on by bad weather and brutal terrain, Rob worries about his mother and wounded father and fears he might even lose Luke and never find Smokey or the other horses.
I need to be upfront and honest right away. You can look at my entire reading collection and check out all of my reviews and the hundreds of more books on my Librarything.com account and what you will not find are any historical type novels, especially ones that deal with moving to the new frontier(in this case Canada) and the whole world of Indians, plains, buffalo, etc. I just don't really get into that type of story. I never have as you can tell that I like about the complete opposite.
With that being said, I did enjoy this novel. It was a pleasant surprise. I was asked to review the novel and I was sent a copy to review. After reading Ghost in the Machine, this was a whole different world for me to enter. I was hooked right away in the beginning and was fascinated to learn about this time period as many of the people in the novel were real people. I am assuming that with a death in my family and the craziness that happened during my reading of this novel, I lost my interest. I don't blame the author. My mind was just in a different place. However, The last 50 pages sucked me right back in. Following Luke and Rob on this journey was engaging. I was not sure how it would turn out in the end(I figured a happy ending, but not sure how the happiness would evolve and play out). I really liked how the author tied things together, but one part felt really rushed to just wrap things up(I won't mention this one part as it will ruin the story)
I read this book for a purpose. In my middle school, there are many students who read stories of historical fiction. It is one genre that they always gravitate towards. The other purpose is that many female students read novels about horses in my school. This book has a focus on both. Horses have been stolen and the action and adventure of chasing down some thieves will grab the interest of any student. I liked the book, but not one of my favorites. But, I know that many students will love this novel. I will be promoting this book to my students because this will appeal to their interests. It was nice to read something outside of the norm for me. Go ahead and give it a try if you can track it down.
P.S. I will be putting together a book giveaway contest soon so pay attention for the details.