Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

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Book #25 of 2015: Frost Dancers

Frost Dancers by Garry Kilworth
Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

While I had a number of issues with this book, all in all, I liked it quite a bit.

I love "talking animal" stories, and this was a perfect example of them -- I believed every animal in the book as an animal, not a human in animal shape. More than that, each of his animal species were so different -- it was just so enjoyable to see how he handled otter characters compared to hedgehogs. Their speech patterns and personalities were just so different.

The main character was a hare, born in the highlands of somewhere in Europe (Scotland I assumed, though it's never named). He's captured in a... hare beating? Bunch of men banging drums to herd hares into a small area where they can be captured or killed. The story tells of his life after he's caught in that.

The book's antagonist was fitting for the story. (And "antagonist" is the only word to describe what he was: "a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.") The book's antagonist was not a villain or a bad guy, it was a person bird who was made what he was by his environment. (Also, happily the greatest mystery of the book, just what kind of bird he was, was solved in the author's afterwards. I would have been highly frustrated if we had never learned what his species was.)

There were a number of things about the book that didn't work for me:

It was long. Very very long. My Kindle tells me how long it takes me to finish a book based on my reading speed. Most books take me about four hours to read. This one took me six and a half. The pages were not packed with story so much as lists. The author would do something like "And since it was spring, the hares ate... [three page list of all the plant that grow in the area]".

Somehow the writing was extremely dated. Before I had checked, I would have guessed that it had been published in the 30s-50s. It was published in 1992. I have no idea how one would even try to write in so dated a way...

It was in British English. Mostly this doesn't bother me in the least, but using single quotes for dialogue is distracting (and sometimes confusing -- what if there's a contraction or possessive in the middle of dialogue?). I had to use my Kindle's dictionary function on a number of words, and all of them turned out to be "chiefly British" or "archaic" words.

While it was about a hare's whole life, and it was an eventful life, it feels like the amount that happened in the plot no where matched how long it took me to read it. So all in all I enjoyed it, I just wish it had been a much, much shorter book. I'm very much ready to read something else now.
Tags: 2015 books, book review, book: frost dancers
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