Name: The Barren Grounds
Book One of The Misewa Saga
Author: David A. Robertson
Genre: Fantasy & Magic/Middle Grade
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020
Published by Puffin Books Canada
Morgan and Eli have recently moved into their new foster home. While, for Morgan it was just a new house with new people wanting to keep some kids, it was first foster home for Eli. Neither liked to be alone but they distanced themselves from everyone as they were scared to get attached to the people around them.
Apart of that, the kids trusted each other and had a soft spot for each other. Their current foster parents were different than the usual ones, they were caring and wanted the kids to feel like home but Morgan (after running away from her last foster home) didn’t let them get close. The children do not feel good even at the school.
One day, Morgan takes Eli to her hiding place but when the duo sits in the hiding, a gust of wind changes everything. A drawing made by Eli comes to life and the next time when Morgan wakes up, Eli has already gone ‘into’ the drawing.
They enter the world of snow and talking animals! But, Aski (the other world) is dying slowly and the kids with Ochek (the fisher) and Arik (the squirrel) are on an adventure to bring the life back into the frozen world.
Series Overview: This series reflects stories of the sky and the constellations held within its great canvas. The word “misewa” is Cree for “all that is”—elders say that what is above is mirrored below, and this is the connection we have with misewa.
Beautiful book for fantasy and middle-grade lovers!
The Barren Grounds is really enjoyable book. While I am not a reads-so-much-middle-grade type of person, I was really intrigued by the storyline of this one. As you all already know that I am not a fan of oh-so-perfect characters. The characters which have flaws are easily connectable as no one in real life is perfect.
The character are essentially made to live. The life can be felt and the emotions too. I really enjoyed the transformation of the relationship between Morgan and Eli, it is fast yet it is understandable.
I would not try to relate or compare it to Narnia, not because there are no similarities. There are a lot of similarities like talking animals, secret door to another world, frozen world. But, the book stands out on its own. It has its own adventure, the growing friendship between humans and animals, the relationship of the foster siblings. Masterpiece on its own.
I had to do some research on my own once I was finished with the book. And, I would also recommend everyone else to read and learn a few things about Cree language, myths and legends.
Writing Style: The flow of book is medium pacing, with the language understandable to almost everyone. Ofcourse, as has a bit relation with Cree times, there are a few things one might have to look up. If you get confused with the names of characters if they are more in number, you might want to keep a note about each.
Characters: The protagonists children are indigenous. The description of characters are well-written and developed beautifully. The sub-characters are well defined as well and play very important role throughout the book!
Thank you so much Puffin books, Hear Our Voices Tours and the author for the review copy!
DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Beatrice Mosionier Indigenous Writer of the Year Award and the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. His books include When We Were Alone (winner of the Governor General’s Award, a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People); Will I See? (winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, Graphic Novel category); the YA novel Strangers (recipient of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction); and Monsters (a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People). Through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, Robertson educates as well as entertains, reflecting Indigenous cultures, histories and communities while illuminating many contemporary issues. David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.
Now that you have read the review, I have another post for you, a post full of recommendations!
Follow the blog tour for The Barren Grounds here: (click the picture)