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Official Review: The Silver Arrow

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Official Review: The Silver Arrow

Post Number:#1 by Serena [Poetree]
» 11 Aug 2016, 16:04

[Following is the official review of "The Silver Arrow" by Ieda Jonasdottir Herman.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by Serena [Poetree]
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When Finna and Erik’s great-grandfather drowns in the ocean, the 14-year-old twins are bequeathed all of the papers and books left behind in his attic room. They search among these records for secret papers and, upon finding them, use a coded message to investigate the truth behind their great-grandfather’s explorations of Snaefel Mountain. He seldom talked about his adventures there, and few believed him anyway. Their journey takes the twins—and their friend Kalli—farther than they expected, and they discover far more than they bargained for.

Finna, the main protagonist, is the dreamer of the group, sharing a belief in the Hidden Folk with her great-grandfather. I loved the possibility of these beings and the fact that Finna clung to it even when others scoffed at her. Kalli, among the scoffers, is the no-nonsense scientist, and Erik is the . . . twin brother? I enjoyed watching the characters’ personalities take shape, but Erik’s never really emerged.

Despite the teenaged protagonists, The Silver Arrow reads more like a middle-grade novel, and when considered from a younger reader’s perspective, it’s an enjoyable read with a fun adventure. I found it exciting to join the characters in following Great-Grandpa’s tracks and finding his marks left inside the mountain. However, the book does have quite a few flaws.

The first chapter moves very fast and doesn’t flow well. Even the characters' movements seemed jerky, with people sitting down, spouting out a single phrase, and then standing up again for no apparent reason. The trio found Great-Grandpa’s “hidden” papers far too easily, and discovered and solved the secret code unbelievably quickly. In addition, dialogue throughout the book often felt unnatural.

Despite its many faults, the story soon had me wanting to know what happened next. And Iceland provides a unique setting for the book, though I would have liked more description. Very few people are familiar with the country, so I would have liked to see it brought to life more! What little description there was, I loved: landscapes, caverns, food, even a few Icelandic words.

The book definitely has an unexpected twist, though not necessarily a good one. It quickly moves from fun adventure with fantastical creatures to absurd, unrealistic nonsense, and the sudden change had me reeling for a chapter or two before I could settle back into the story. Without giving too much away, I can say that the Icelandic folklore gave way to aliens and Norse gods—an interesting concept, but poorly executed. It felt very disjointed.

I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. This may be a bit generous, perhaps, but The Silver Arrow definitely has some potential. It could have benefited from more detail and a good, thorough edit (there were several mechanical errors besides the other issues mentioned above). It’s very short at only 111 pages, so more text wouldn’t hurt!

The Silver Arrow
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Re: Official Review: The Silver Arrow

Post Number:#2 by hsimone
» 24 Aug 2016, 15:51

It does sound like an interesting story. Too bad about the flaws. Pacing and editing can make or break a book for many readers. I, too, need good pacing and a well edited book; both distract my reading flow if it isn't done well. Nonetheless, a great review!
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Re: Official Review: The Silver Arrow

Post Number:#3 by Kia
» 27 Aug 2016, 20:29

Thank you for posting such an honest review. Excellent job.
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Re: Official Review: The Silver Arrow

Post Number:#4 by Clifora
» 27 Aug 2016, 21:09

It's a pity that the story had quite a few flaws. Great review!
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