I was sent an eARC copy of Little White Hands by the author, Mark Cushen. Thank you for the opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
Little White Hands
Garlan Greatheart Book One
by Mark Cushen
Publishing 1 May 2021
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy Adventure
Page Count: 268
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Almost five hundred years have passed since the Seasons were at war.
Half a millennium since Winter defied Spring, and lost.
Generations have come and gone, not knowing the bitter freeze and howling snows of Winter ever existed.
But now, after centuries of silence, the participants in this ancient struggle have resurfaced and reignited their feud on the doorstep of an unassuming little kitchen boy.
Garlan’s dreams of being just like the knights he idolizes may not be as impossible as he has always been led to believe, when he is chased from his home and thrust headlong into the kind of adventure he had only ever read about in books.
Setting out on a journey that spans the entire kingdom of Faeland, Garlan will traverse impossible mountains and stormy seas and battle terrible monsters, all to keep the world he knows safe from an enemy who will stop at nothing to bring about a never-ending winter.
With a cast of fantastical characters to aid him in his quest, can Garlan overcome his self-doubt and find the courage he needs to rise above his humble station and become the hero he always dreamed of being?
The fate of the world rests in his hands.
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My Rating: 4 Stars
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Little White Hands is a coming-of-age fantasy adventure about a humble kitchen boy with lofty dreams who sets out on a cross-kingdom trek to save the world as he knows it. The world Cushen has crafted is lush and fresh, yet comfortably familiar, and should appeal to most high fantasy readers. The characters are well fleshed out and empathetic, and I do believe there’s someone in here for every reader to latch onto.
My favourite character was the wise sidekick/teacher figure Oldface. His introduction immediately made me think of Bob from the Dresden Files (book version, permanently stuck in the skull), so that’s probably why I latched onto him at first, but he continued to make me smile, nod, and laugh throughout the book. The way Garlan has to hide the fact that Oldface is essentially an enchanted floating log from everyone else gave me a Studio Ghibli / Miyazaki vibe, too. This book is neither of those franchises, it’s entirely its own thing, but just one character reminded me of both of those great properties, so I hope that captures your imagination and gives you a taste of the pleasant surprises you’ll find in all of this book’s major characters.
My one major critique is the lack of significant female presence in this book. I was curious after I finished and did a document search for the complete word “she.” My search returned 150 instances, the second of which is the phrase “he or she” and many of which refer to unnamed single-scene characters or animals. This book is listed as 268 pages print length. A search for “her” turns up 133. “He,” on the other hand, turns up 1,628 results and “his” 1,214 results. Just a little unbalanced. Perhaps something that might change in future books?
Overall this is a solid middle-grade/YA fantasy and a good start to a series. If you’re looking for a fresh fantasy that reminds you of your favourites without sacrificing what makes it unique, check this one out!
About the Author
Blurb borrowed from author’s website “about” page.
I have loved the fantasy genre ever since I accidentally stumbled onto Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion masterpiece, “Jason and the Argonauts”, while channel-hopping one Christmas-time Saturday afternoon, somewhere between the ages of 5 and 8 – while I’m not sure exactly what age I was at the time, seeing that movie for the first time is a moment I’ll never forget.
Ever since that day I have been obsessed with stories of sword-wielding heroes battling monsters in fantastical lands, be they in the form of movies, books, or video games. I’m now attempting to create such stories of my own.
I hope you like them.
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