In Bennet-Woods’ first in a planned series, a boy finds adventure in a mystical and sometimes dangerous jungle land.
When Orehon is 12, he chases his pet monkey after it descends from the treetops where Orehon, his family and his tribe dwell. He follows the monkey to the forest floor, a place he has been warned about since he was a child, but they both return home unharmed. Instead of being frightened, Orehon is filled with a sense of bravery. This inspires him when he next goes hunting. Orehon stumbles upon a giant golden eagle and manages to take one of its feathers. He goes to see Tagla, a former tribe chief, who is a fascinating old man with a split personality. The chief warns Orehon about the magic of the feather: Its power is great and terrible, depending on the character of its possessor. This fills Orehon with a quiet sense of confidence, although he keeps the feather a secret. His self-assurance aids him when his father announces that the family will become farmers instead of nomadic hunters. Orehon’s father explains they have lived as nomadic hunters in order to protect his mom’s true identity: She is daughter of a chief. Despite the precaution, a kidnapper's ring takes Chief Tagla and two of Orehon’s neighbors. The boy bravely tracks them down, is captured, and learns that the kidnappers plan to sell him and his friends as slaves. Although Orehon is young, he handles the situation with as much ingenuity and aplomb as any seasoned hero. The supporting characters are colorful and well-rounded, from the crazy but wise Chief Tagla to the fierce and inquisitive young neighbor girl Weenup, and the treacherous Killican warriors. A light edit would clear up the occasionally clunky prose and errant punctuation errors, but overall this does not distract from the excitement of the story or the imaginative worldbuilding. In the end, mysteries still remain surrounding Orehon’s family, and it seems certain they will be answered as Orehon’s journey continues in future installments. As it stands, Orehon has already proved himself a likable and capable protagonist in an unpredictable and enjoyable world.
An entertaining tale of action, courage and a boy growing up.