Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Ramblings on Amarok by Angela J. Townsend

By: Angela J. Townsend
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2012
Authors Website


Emma's life has been hell since she moved from sunny California to a remote Alaskan town. Abandoned by her father and living with the guilt of causing her mother's death, she makes a desperate dash for freedom from her abusive stepfather. But when her car skids off the icy road, her planned escape leads to further captivity in a world beyond her imagining. 

Dragged across the tundra by an evil mountain man and his enormous black wolf, she learns that love can be found in the most unexpected places. Amarok, as she's nicknamed the wolf, is a young man from the gold-rush era enslaved by an ancient shaman. Emma's gentle touch and kind heart win his love and devotion. When a vicious madman--trapped in bear form by the same Shaman--attacks the travelers and injures Amarok, Emma must find the strength to face her fears and free the wolf she's come to love. But that means she must face down the evil shaman, a Siberian mammoth hunter from the ice age, and he has no intention of giving up his power to her.
(from Goodreads)

My Ramblings:
On the recommendation of Darby Karchut I picked this book up. She's one of my favorite authors, so I figured she had good taste. This was a great little book, full of all the sorts of things that I really enjoy. There's folklore and magic, there's action and adventure, there's wilderness and wild animals and it's all woven together in a neat little package. 

At the center of the story is Emma, a girl who has lost everything and is struggling just to survive in Alaska with an abusive step-father. No one should have to live the way Emma does, covering her bruises and making excuses. No one should have to, but many kids (and adults) do. Townsend does something here, in talking about the relationship between Emma and her step-father, that I like. She treats it as simply another part of Emma's life. She doesn't sugar coat it, but she doesn't make it the focal point of the entire story either. It's something Emma lives with, and deals with, on a daily basis, but it does not define her. It certainly impacts the decisions Emma makes throughout the story, but I appreciated that Emma, as a character, was more then just an abused girl. 

That said, the abuse is what sets the entire adventure in motion, and her ability to cope with bad things, with bad people, is what allows her to come through the journey stronger. The fact that she never loses hope, and doesn't let the bad things that have happened to her define her, is what makes her inspiring. 

The other characters in this story are great- I do wish that there was a little more character development on some of the characters, especially Jock, who is Amarok's uncle. I felt like he played a fairly large role in the story and how it all resolved, but I didn't feel like I knew enough about him. I had a great picture of who the shaman was, who Emma was and who Amorak was, but Jock came in and was awesome, but I really wanted to know more. At the end of the book I found myself really wanting a second story focusing on Jock and his adventures releasing all the other people who were trapped by the Shaman. 

Overall this was a great story, it was a quick read that packed a lot in, and I think that because Emma is such a survivor and the fact that she takes the pain and hurt and uses that to become a stronger person, someone who doesn't give up and doesn't lose hope, makes it a story that many kids (and adults) can relate to. If you get a chance, pick this one up!

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