A young caribou blessed with the ability to see beyond what the other members of his herd can is given a dangerous task that can change the course of nature.
Charged with waking the spirits of humans, who in their slumber have forgotten their connection to nature, young Bou must travel deep into the Arctic Canadian wilderness to find a sacred plant. All manner of forest and magical creatures assist him in his quest. Gnomes, trolls, fairies, eagles, and wolves give all that they have, even their own lives and those they love, to help him succeed. But a terrible enemy also walks the path, hoping to take the power of the mystical Breschuvine for himself. Lyrical prose and lush description depict a world where nature and magic intersect. And while it is clear that evil and good exist in the woods, it is also evident that the world is a dangerous place and death is an inevitable part of life. Bou is a likable protagonist, but slow pacing as well as frequent moments where the descriptive writing overwhelms the story, forcing it into the background, hobble this tale. Substantial paragraphs of sensory-rich prose describing seasonal transitions or the terrain Bou navigates are impressive, but too often they act as roadblocks to the action rather than resting places. The environmental message is subtle but effective.
Lovely but overwritten. (Fantasy. 9-12)