Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Shadow Riders by B.J. Bale

Title: Shadow Riders

Author: B.J. Bayle

Source: Received for Review

Published: 2010


In 1874, after their father is wounded by hard men who have stolen a number of mares and Smokey, a prized stallion, 15-year-old Rob McCann and his adopted Native brother, Luke, ride frantically to Fort Ellice, Manitoba, in the vain expectation that the horse rustlers have stopped there. Learning that a new force called the North-West Mounted Police has come west, the brothers continue south to locate them and ask for help.

The NWMP commander, Colonel George French, desperately attempts to have the boys escorted home. However, the brothers manage to tag along on the 800-mile march of NWMP men and wagons headed for Fort Whoop-Up, in what will one day be Alberta, with the hope that they will catch up with the theives.

Besides the terrible life-threatening hardships brought on by bad weather and brutal terrain, Rob worries about his mother and wounded father and fears he might even lose Luke and never find Smokey or the other horses. (taken from goodreads.com)

In my opinion, this book fell way flat. While the synopsis makes the novel sound exciting, it's really a long record of two boys and their trip to find their family's missing horses. I'd say that Luke and Rob spend 80% of their time traveling or doing another equally boring activity. 

The story starts out quickly, but after the first chapter or so, it begins to progress slowly. I found it hard to concentrate on the story. My mind kept wandering. I can see how the story had potential, but it came across as uneventful and boring. You know that one history class you had? The one where you had to pay attention even though you wanted to do nothing more than to zone out? This book reminded of that class. 

Luke and Rob were pretty flat characters. I didn't bond with either of them. To be honest, they weren't very realistic. Or deep, as a matter of fact. I don't have much else to say about character development. Maybe if I was younger, and if I didn't read so many young adult books with awesome characters, it wouldn't have bothered me as much. 

Well, I'm having a hard time finding anything else to say about this book. Sorry for the terrible review. I always cringe at the thought of writing a negative review for a book, but I promised to be honest. I won't be recommending this one to my friends. Maybe I'll pass it down to my younger brother, but that's about it.

*I received this book from Dundurn Press in exchange for an honest review.


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