Review: The First

The First

                             The FirstAuthor: Lisa M. Green

Gold Stars 3-5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Suggested Reading

Genre: Myth/ Fantasy

Rinni’s inquisitive nature follows her into adulthood and is perhaps why she is still viewed as a ‘child’ by the elders in her community – the Primaries.  But without her innate curiosity and drive for understanding, no one in the colony would realize how their lives were not just threatened by the Shadows, but by the lies they’ve held dear for so long.  In her search for truth, Rinni defies her past in order to save her community and give them a future.  Will she make the right choice when life, love, and family weigh in the balance?

The core elements in Green’s novel are truly remarkable.  The notion of a giant tree that is able to sustain an entire village with the use of any and all of its elements is fantastic at best and more than a little ingenious.  Immediately, the reader is drawn in by the majesty and power of this natural element that replenishes its losses at an incredible rate.  The intrinsic link this tree has with the inhabitants of the community builds a solid base around the notion of balance and harmony in life and death.

The contrast of the unknown enemy, the Shadows, makes real just how delicate that life balance is.  When they suddenly act out of character and no one wants to admit the seriousness of the event, it is a call-to-action that the main characters cannot ignore.  As Rinni and her friends search for the truth, more secrets are revealed – dangerous secrets.

The fast pace of the plot and the intrigue that is built as Rinni and her friends discover and uncover inconsistencies about the past and the present, the reader cannot help but worry about the future.  Green’s ability to give detailed descriptions of place help ground readers in a foreign location.  There were moments in the story when the light bulb went on that excited me as I too began to solve various mysteries that even the characters wouldn’t fully come to understand.

Green’s use of first person, present tense narration is less well-known in the adult fantasy or myth genre and readers may find it difficult to empathize and bond with the cast of characters as a result.  Rinni, whose eyes readers see through, is somewhat flippant and cocky.  While this attitude, coupled with her more endearing qualities, should make her more three-dimensional to readers, it actually does the opposite.  There is a distance, and arm’s length she holds her world at where the commentary in her head reads more like someone telling a story than actually living it.

What also may distract readers is Green’s use of literary language throughout the telling of her story.  The intellectual choices made with much of her vocabulary would fit well in an essay or formal piece of writing, but distances and alienates readers who are perhaps looking for a simpler, more guttural and honest language to help them fall in love with the characters and the ideas.

Lastly, readers may be momentarily disappointed with which myth Green chooses to embellish in this tale.  However, once I allowed myself to accept that this was the case, I thoroughly enjoyed her interpretation and the subtleties with which she weaves a forgotten past into a realized present and on to a future based on that belief system.

Many great novelists have delved into parallels of modern myth in works of fantasy, and Green should be commended for creating a tale worth telling around any campfire or with any flashlight under the covers.

Review by M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Editor. Freelance Writer.

Categories: Book Reviews

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