Book Review: Trail of the Raven: Hati

Trail of the Raven, Haiti by [Davis, Chip]

 

 

Jack’s life consisted of new schools, in new towns, with the same old problems. The pattern continued until he saw Ana deep in the woods. Through Ana, Jack developed a keen interest in learning who he was and where he came from, his ancestors. “The best way to learn about your ancestors is to put yourself in the same environment they were in. It isn’t enough to know what they did. If you really want to know them, you need to learn about what shaped them into who they were.” Those were Ana’s words. Her death left Jack with the realization that he knew little of this amazing woman who was his adopted mother. The first step of Jack’s quest takes him to the last place she visited before his adoption, the island of Haiti. New friends, unexpected events, and the island itself give Jack a greater understanding of Ana and ultimately himself. Come with Jack as he begins his Journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Chip Davis is a hillarious guy to know, so when I heard he’d published something with a more serious tone, I had to investigate how serious “serious” was.  To be honest, this book was a surprise from front to back.  It does touch on serious issues with proper gravity, but the rest of the story is shown through a moderate (OK, this IS the Chip Davis I know, so “very” is not too far out of his spectrum) lighthearted manner.

Now, down to the nuts and bolts:

World Building

  • Despite being told where the story primarily takes place, I keep getting the feeling it’s somewhere on the opposite side of the continent.  Despite this, Chip does a wonderful job using a few quick sketches to bring the landscape to life.  He goes into more detail with the primary setting – the houses that help define each segment of the story (there are several), which makes them all stand out.  Even though the characters flow from one to the next, the houses stand like stars in the spotlight, while the land around them are the chorus line hiding in the dimmer shadows.  This really helps the ongoing story stand out and shine.

Character Development

  • I have one question here.  Chip, are you SURE you didn’t base your characters on real people?  Each of the named characters doesn’t start from a foundation and build up.  They just spring up, fully developed in the work and reveal more about themselves than expected.  Even if they were only present for a scene or two, I “knew” each of them enough that I could point them out in a line up with a high probability of getting them right.  For me, this was an amazing job in character development.

Pacing

  • Nicely done, though there were a couple of points where things felt just a tad rushed or delayed.  Since I’m not Chip, I can’t say that these weren’t deliberate choices to help build up tension for what came next, I do want to acknowledge that these spots may be a stylistic choice, rather than a flaw.  Especially around the cabin in the woods and just before the disaster.  Both of those transitions hit with a powerful blow.

Overall score?  If I scored with more than a 5, I’d still give Chip top billing.  An enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars from me.  (While this is not fantasy or science fiction, I will be coming back to read again – an unusual event around these parts.)

 

If you want to read the story, I highly recommend you head over to Amazon and pick up your copy Here.  And, while you’re at it – check out Chip’s other books as well.

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