Sunday, January 29, 2012
It is a dark time for the deer. A tyrannical new leader of the Herd has ended the old way, the yearly crash of antlers that ensured a change of leadership is overtaken by a command corps of young stags, antlers sharpened for the kill, whose mission is complete domination of the animal world. But a prophecy among the deer proclaims a hero—a fawn with the mark of an oak leaf on his forehead. His unique bond with all creatures, including humans, will bring a new age of freedom.
The fawn is Rannoch. Born on the night his father is murdered, he is hidden by his mother from the deadly attention of the Lord of the Herd. But soon he is forced to flee, beginning a perilous, wondrous journey. Among the mountains and haunted glens of the Great Land, the young stag encounters strange herds, makes unusual allies, and, at last, finds the knowledge and courage to face his extraordinary destiny…
This is by far the coolest book I've read in a long time. Honestly I don't know why I haven't heard of this one before. It's got all the coolest features of a classic journey-tale as well as coming of age and fantasy. It's compared to Watership Down (the rabbit book) which I haven't read yet, but if it's anything like this story I'll love it. Rannoch's story is full of adventure, self-discovery, and magic. He's the deer from the prophecy, born to lead the red deer to freedom.
This book follows the good vs. evil dichotomy and follows the life of Rannoch as he tries to find his way with his strange powers of understanding the other creatures. He's different, and it's hard to be different, especially when the people around you tend to end up dead.
The best thing about this book is how it completely sucks you into the life of the deer and how it explains their lives and how things are. Davies is magic at describing scenes of the woodland forest, or the yearly clashing of the antlers, of the fawns playing in the grass, or of the strange power the humans have of taming that which shouldn't be tamed. You'll fall in love with Rannoch and his friends, root for him until the last page, and find yourself enchanted with this beautifully written epic journey.
I give it a 4 and 3/4 out of 5!