Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Green Ember


The first of author S.D. Smith’s Green Ember series focuses mainly on rabbit characters, beginning with a prologue where two wash up on the shore of Ayman Lake, Fleck Blackstar and Galt. They don’t seem to get any further mention, with the main chapters focusing on two lapine siblings, the male Picket and the female Heather. They reside Nick Hollow with their parents and baby brother, although the book doesn’t make a clear distinction between the names given for him, Jacks and Jacket, not saying which one’s his real name and which is his nickname.

Their father, Garten Lawntreader, begins telling them the tale of King Jupiter the Great, although the lapine patriarch doesn’t complete the story, but later on it does receive its resolution. The chief reason for this is an attack by wicked wolves that ends with the capture of the rabbit parents and baby brother, with Picket and Heather managing to escape due to the assistance of a woman with whom their parents had a past affiliation, Lady Glen, who leads them to safety. The vengeful lupine Captain Redeye gives chase, with the children’s Uncle Wilfred coming into the picture and granting them salvation.

They wander a labyrinth and find the enigmatic white rabbit Smalls, then reaching the lapine community at Cloud Mountain, where Picket and Heather receive instruction so they can defend against the wolves, several backstory-revealing paintings and the eponymous Green Ember playing roles. Several twists involving familial secrets and lineage abound in the latter portion of the story, with a great battle pitting the rabbits against wolves and avians occupying the final chapters, followed by a revelation about the whereabouts of Picket and Heather’s family lost to the initial lupine assault against Nick Hollow.

All in all, I found this a good beginning to Smith’s series, with its focus on animal characters being a plus and sure to attract those who have an affinity for such stories, especially younger audiences. The plot is generally straightforward, and while the lapine luminaries aren’t wholly black and white, the author treats all wolves as inherently evil, akin to the different species in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. The inclusion of illustrations somewhat clarifies the appearance of specific characters to prevent them from being interchangeable, and I very much look forward to reading the book’s sequels.

No comments:

Post a Comment