3 out of 4 stars
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Octavio & the Lotus is an exciting and adventure-filled fantasy novel written by N. Pojk.
Dougie Sturmeyer is nine years old and he wishes for a girlfriend. His wish seems to be granted in the form of his new neighbor, Petunia. The girl, however, is two years older than Dougie and that simply won’t do. So, instead of a real girlfriend, Dougie decides to have an imaginary girlfriend and writes a fantastical story about Octavio, the eighth son of a Frankish knight. An unexpected incident, however, compels Dougie to include Petunia in his project and they end up writing the story together.
Their character, Octavio, lived in Tuscany in the twelfth century. Just like his brothers, he trained in swordsmanship and became a fierce warrior. He married his neighbor Myrtle. Before Myrtle gave birth to their son Nikolaos, Octavio and his brothers, led by their father Romulus, had been sent by the Pope to war against the elves of Vallonia. They never returned.
Nikolaos trained even harder than his father did and learned additional skills from the same travelling minstrel who trained Octavio. Together with his cousins and his teacher, he set off to Vallonia to search for his family.
Told in the third person perspective, this is an exciting and adventure-filled story that features a multitude of subjects including love, family, friendship, time-travel, and history, among others. The plot is presented in a series of unexpected events and perpetual twists and turns. The author emphasizes the importance of discipline and patience, and puts a considerable amount of stress on the value of life. Moreover, he successfully separates Dougie and Petunia’s story from that of Nick and his cousins.
From the number of settings, from Tuscany, to the United States, to Japan, and the great amount of historical details included in the book, such as the Underground Railroad, bombing of Nagasaki, and World War II in general, it is apparent that a great deal of time and research were devoted on this book by the author.
Each setting was well-described and the dialogues were quite fitting for each character. There are several admirable characters and it has been difficult for me to choose a favorite from the travelling minstrel, the powerful queen of the elves, and the fearless warrior, Nick.
The best part of the book, for me, is the perfect depiction of a writer’s predicament when tying up loose ends. I believe every writer can relate to this part of the story.
Admittedly, I had so much fun reading the book. However, I find the time-shifts a little confusing, the details a little overwhelming, and the later chapters populated with too many characters. Furthermore, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book including missing prepositions (like a lot them were unconscious) and missing apostrophes (like these guys camp). Finally, I find the ending a little forced and inconclusive, and that’s what I like least about the book.
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is exciting and enjoyable. I recommend it to fans of fantasy novels.
Octavio & the Lotus
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