Challenges: 2013 Outdo Yourself Challenge, 2013 Mammoth Book Challenge
Sky Weathers has always been different, a little off. He hears a voice, an evil one, in his head, which he's even gone as far to affectionately name "my little monster". His strange, monocle-wearing, Uncle Phineas spent eleven years training him to fight monsters, teaching him about The Hunters of Legend, having him build traps and solve puzzles. But why? Who is Sky and what is really going on with his peculiar life? Sky would really like to know the truth. So, when his Uncle Phineas suddenly turns up missing on his twelfth birthday, Sky is left to find the answers to his burning questions alone. Is he prepared for what lies ahead?
In April 1974, a beautiful baby boy was born at a small hospital in Mesa, Arizona. E. J. Patten ("Eric James") was in the next crib over. The first story he ever wrote involved a strange ad, a Laundromat, and a bowl of chili; thankfully, it was never published. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts, and a Masters in Business Administration from Brigham Young University. He currently resides with his wife and three children in Utah. Return to Exhile is Patten's debut novel and book one of The Hunter Chronicles.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
This book suffers from a slow start, multiple character overload and a complex plot. After the first hundred pages, everything begins to come together and the pace picks up. Writing style is fairly descriptive, especially in the beginning. It became a little tedious with all the metaphors and similes, as the plot progressed, this seemed to taper off significantly and the book was easier to read. I also noticed a lot of information dumping via conversations between characters. Set in a imaginary rural town called Exile, Sky's story unfolds in a third person narrative from primarily from Sky's perspective.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Sky, the main character is witty, compassionate and brave. He does seem to lack self confidence and faith in himself. One thing is for sure, Sky doesn't want to let anyone down or have anyone hurt on account of his actions. Considering he's just turned twelve, he's awful young to have taken on so much responsibility in his short lifetime. Sky's Hunter pals all are quirky characters. Each comes with his/her own unique set of problems, no one really trusts Sky either. Somehow they do eventually manage to put diferences aside and unite to fight a common cause. They were all very inventive, using bascially garbage and urine to create dangerous weapons to stave off evil beasts. The adult characters were both good and evil. Sky's parents went to great extents to hide the truth from Sky, but I'm no so sure it really did him any good in the end.
With a male narrator and lots of action I think young boys will gravitate towards this one more than the girls. Its quite a long story with some fairly descriptive passages and a complex plot. I'd recommend this one to fantasy lovers and more advanced middle grade readers. Readers who enjoyed The Percy Jackson Series, or Artemis Fowl books will find enjoyment in reading this series, too.
A complex, lengthy (500+ PAGES) middle grade fantasy brimming with plenty of action and battle scenes. The ideas and creative monster beasts made the story both fun and challenging. I had a difficult time keeping all the monsters straight, but I did find a helpful manual in the back which proved to be invaluable to the story line. This book moved along at a pretty brisk clip, after the initial slow start. It held plenty of mystery, riddles and puzzles to solve, none of which I was able to outwit any of the characters on. Quite a few unexpected surprises in this one, but the ending wrapped everything up nicely. It will be fun to see where the second book will take us.
This story earns 3.5 rings out of 5. One and a half rings deducted for slow start and information overkill near the beginning. In addition, the flowery language, as some readers have stated in the past, seemed a bit excessive, especially in the first 100 pages, but improved as the novel progressed.
3.5 Out of 5 Rings (GOOD ~ KEPT ME FLIPPING PAGES)