4 out of 4 stars
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Of the Earth by Kim Cousins is an imaginative adventure appropriate to the time in which we live today. When a puppy finds herself alone in the destruction of a crumbling city, she is surprised to find friendship in the form of a large cat named Carl. When a wayfarer named Jim stops to fix his flat tire, he discovers them, and they begin adventure anew as they trek toward the Smoky Mountains in search of Jim’s friends and survival. Will they make it to their destination? Will they meet people along the way who are willing to help? What kind of challenges will the three companions face? To find out, you must read this enthralling story!
Although this book was initially placed in the genre of Other Fiction, it features a dystopian theme and includes elements of the Fantasy genre. There has always been a mystique surrounding talking animals. I found that element fascinating when I stepped into the story and realized that animals were part of the dialogue.
At the beginning of this book, the author explains the format and the use of italics and footnotes for clarity. Much of this story uses the Holy Bible as a source of inspiration, and scriptural footnotes are included so that readers may investigate on their own. It suggests that readers searching out the Easter eggs of discovery could find Easter instead.
The character development was excellent in this book. I loved the camaraderie between the animal characters in this story, and the connection between members of Jim’s community was close and caring. Jim’s journey carried him through many dangers, and he learned about himself and others on the way. I especially liked the recurrent theme of concern for others that appeared throughout the story.
There are many references to Christianity and its teachings in this book. The basic foundations of the salvation mentioned in the Holy Bible are presented within the story in an interesting way. I enjoyed how well that theme worked with the dystopian aspects of the plotline, as it seemed to add a new and deeper dimension to an otherwise somewhat frayed sub-genre. I feel that the adventurous storyline of the book reaches beyond religion and will appeal to readers of any faith. However, it may feel heavy-handed to those not of a particular faith.
As a negative point, readers looking for an escape from aspects relating to life during a pandemic or religious war may want to look elsewhere. These themes and events, such as natural disasters, the declination of civilization, and even spiritual exorcism, add a tone of violence to this book that is threaded throughout the narrative. In that sense, this book is not for the faint of heart, and I walked away from it with a heavier feeling.
As a positive point, the elements of adventure, common goodness, friendship, and romance cause this novel to blossom for the reader and make it a must-read. I recommend it to readers who feel drawn to a dramatic plot. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy dystopian drama. In addition, this is an exceptionally well-edited book. I rate this book with 4 out of 4 stars for these reasons.
Of the Earth
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