“Deep in the ancient forest that the creatures called the Wild Wood amid the scented bracken and towering beeches, there were whispers of a legend whose ending was lost in the mists of time. “

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

 

Quest for the Faradawn – Richard Ford *****

I was given this book probably around 15 years ago by my father, and since then it has gathered dust until I came across it and decided to give it a try.

If I had to describe the novel I would say that it is a cross between The lord of the Rings and Watership Down (If I was cynical I would say a complete rip off of the two). The story is relatively simple, a newborn boy is left in the woods by his parents, he is found by Brock the Badger who takes him home. The child is named Nab and when the local animal council hold a meeting it is suggested that the prophecy of an ancient legend could be about to be fulfilled and Brock is entrusted with his upbringing. It is decided that Nab shall be taken to see the Elflord in order that his true identity be revealed. He is then sent on a journey to collect the Faradawn from the 2 other Elflords that will allow the elves to escape from the destruction of man via Ashgoroth. Complete with an elven history that even a Hobbit would be proud of, the background is set for what will be a great adventure. Expect magic, tragedy, folklore and comradeship as we follow Nab, Beth, Sam the dog, Brock the Badger, Perryfoot the Hare & Warrigail the Owl.

The only problem that I had with this book is that it seems to have been written in a style more suited to young teenagers and at times it struggled to keep my attention. However there are a number of different characters that just seem to do enough to stop you getting bored. Man is portrayed as pure evil in the novel creating wanton destruction wherever he goes, and there are a number of fairly graphic animal slayings. That is all very well, but at times the book was just very very preachy. I really don’t need to be told umpteen times how nasty bloodsports can be and after the first dozen times I was sick of being beaten over the head with the same message. Also the plot has some glaringly obvious issues, for example all the animals are living together happily in the wood, but if fox is friend with rabbit, how the hell does fox survive? Or does Ford expect us to overlook these small matters?…..

Although this review seems a little harsh, I have to say that I enjoyed the book as a whole and if I come across the sequels will pick them up. I was thinking of awarding 4 and a half stars, but it is one of those tales that will always stay with me, and for that I will bump up the score to a 5, after all isn’t it the point of all stories to make a lasting impression on the reader? This book got to me in the same way as Neville Shutes ‘The Beach’.

The Author’s Note at the end was quite strange, and while I would love it to be true……….

I suppose Ford has made me think of the way in which I regard nature, and more importantly, how would I like to think of myself? Urkku or Eldron?

Am I glad I read the book: Yes
Would I recommend it: Yes
Would I reread it: More than likely.

 

Reviewed by:

Lee Bridge

Added 13th April 2015

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Lee Bridge

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