One lazy afternoon (in which wasn't really lazy; I was really sick) I decided to give this book a go and everything inside of me exploded in delight. Everything Stephanie had ever said about the book was true. I quickly made good on my personal promise to purchase a hard copy of the book.
The Green Ember is the first of what shall clearly be a series of books about Heather and Picket, two young rabbits with a past that is shrouded in mystery. They live with their parents in what might an idyllic woodland. They have never faced conflict or known great fear until one fateful day when their community is attacked by wolves.
"Heather barely stifled a scream. In the smoky haze, she saw large black-clad figures in the meadow. Wolves, she realized with amazement. Here? How? She was incredulous. She had never seen a wolf but recognized them from her reading and her parents' descriptions." (Chapter 5, Eastern Winds)
Heather and Picket are off berry picking when the trouble arises. Unable to return home to their parents they find themselves being chased by these fearsome creatures. They make a desperate escape, successful only because their uncle, Wilfred, located and rescued them. Heather and Picket are eventually brought to a community of rabbits where they are told of the story of King Jupiter, noble leader of the thirty warrens. King Jupiter was a mighty warrior and also much adored. Sadly King Jupiter was betrayed and killed. His heir disappeared, along with the Green Ember which would identify him, and his loyal subjects sent into hiding.
Heather and Picket are placed with group of rabbits who have formed a community with a goal of restoring the heir of King Jupiter to a position of leadership. There is much talk of a better tomorrow where wrongs will be righted and freedom will be restored. This hoped for place is referred to by rabbits as the Mended Wood. Yet before the Mended Wood, the rabbits must struggle on, developing productive skills and preparing to fight to restore the life they knew under King Jupiter.
"We sing about it. We paint it. We make crutches and soups and have gardens and weddings and babies. This is a place out of time. A window into the past and the future world. We are heralds, you see, my dear, saying what will surely come. And we prepare with all our might, to be ready when once again we are free." (Chapter 25, The Third Door)
As beautiful as the idea of the Mended Wood sounds to Heather and Picket, they are made aware of the entire tale of King Jupiter and how his story is wrapped up in their own family history. Perhaps their life in that idyllic woodland was not as perfect as they originally believed it to be. They must struggle to find their place in this community which they have been placed.
The Green Ember is a fantastic adventure story. It is also a mystery which slowly unfolds to the reader in a rather tantalizing way. I am hardly doing the book justice with this review. There are a myriad of details I have left out for you to discover as you read the book yourself. (And really? You must do so.) As I read along I kept telling myself I needed to read slow. However, each chapter tends to end on a cliff hanger, resulting in a desperate need to read on. I buzzed through it as a result. It's rather gripping.
Immediately after I finished the book I looked up author S.D. Smith's website to learn more about him and the book. I left a comment telling him how much I loved his story and he kindly dropped me a note offering a couple of giveaway copies of the audiobook version if I'd like. I certainly wasn't going to say no to that! I feel absolutely confident that you guys are going to love this story!
In addition to the copies for you, our family was also sent a copy of the audiobook. It arrived at a perfect time (we were still sick) and so the kids listened to it while resting. They loved the story as much as I did (no surprise). Then the hard copy arrived and Bookworm1 (age 8) immediately dove into it. On his first day of reading he told me that he read 13 chapters in one sitting! (See? I told you there were cliffhanger endings.)
This debut book by S.D. Smith has been welcomed with open arms by people in our household and we are just delighted to share the story with you as well.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNERS (as selected by Random.org) ARE AS FOLLOWS: #8 - Beth Starr AND #17 - Bluerose's Heart.