Legends of the Saloli: Approaching Storm by Adam Bolander
Jeremy Lander was just settling down to enjoy his last summer break when a family emergency forces his mum to travel and leave him alone for a few days. Wondering how he can fill his time alone he wanders outside in the sun and something very strange happens. At first he thinks he is dreaming, but he soon realises he is wide awake and things are far from okay. His body feels odd, his surroundings seem to have grown bigger and he swears he can understand what the forest animals are saying! Faith, a Saloli prophet looks at Jeremy and sees this human boy as her tribes saviour, with agreement from Rust, the tribes chief and a little bit of magic Faith turns Jeremy into one of them and is convinced in this form he will be enough to save the tribe from imminent threat.
This was an unusual little story, Saloli are squirrels who live their lives similar to humans they have a ‘God’ to worship named Valde Abbas, they believe in a life after death. They have marriage ceremonies and funerals and the story puts me in mind of ‘Wind in the Willows’ or ‘Bright eyes’ with it’s humanlike talking animals. Our MC Jeremy aka Blaze is a teenage boy who has been turned into a squirrel in order to save the Icefire tribe from some unknown threat that the groups prophet Faith had been warned about in a dream. He soon proves himself as an able fighter and is promoted from trainee to fully-fledged tribe member within a few weeks.
Blaze happens along many threats and we watch him fight foxes, eagles and humans as well as other things in this steady paced exciting fantasy. I did notice a hand full of typo’s which I find in most books I read and didn’t find them detrimental to the enjoyment of the story. The writing flows easily and the plot if somewhat predictable is entertaining. Although there is quite a lot of violence in the story the writing style and vocabulary suggests this book is aimed at young people aged thirteen and over. We are left with a cliff hanger that implies this is the first of a series of books involving our Saloli friends and I recommend it to all young fantasy lovers.
Copy supplied for review