Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Review: "The Forgotten Warrior" by Kathi Oram Peterson

By Nichole Giles

Sydney Morgan is No wimp. A black belt in karate, her defensive moves help keep her tough even when her mom is diagnosed with cancer and her long-lost dad shows up to play nice guy. But when an unexpected gift transports her through space and time to the land of Zarahemla, Syd just might be in over her head. Accused of being a spy, she has to prove she’s no threat to the locals—including Captain Helaman himself. As war quickly approaches, Helaman calls upon Syd to help his stripling warriors to prepare to fight. Torn between concern for her family and for her new friends, Syd musters her wits, strength, and faith to face the coming battle—but her feelings for chief warrior Tarik put her heart on the line. Who will survive the Lamanites’ fierce onslaught? And will Syd ever make it home again?

After reading the cover blurb, this book intrigued me. The idea of sending a modern day teenager back in time to experience the battles of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors was a good one. Peterson differentiates between viewpoints by use of journal pages from one character, and keeps the rest of the text in the main character’s point of view. Through this technique, we are able to see a wider span of events, share knowledge, and feel emotions from both characters.

And as I said, the concept is a great idea. Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time getting into the heart of the story since the text weighed it down so heavily. It was hard to find the genuine emotion buried under repetition and excessive use of adverbs. The action scenes were interesting and easier to read, but could have been much more suspenseful had the author been a little more succinct in her choice of words. I love that the main character is a teenage girl in the position of having everyone think she’s not only a spy, but also a boy. That adds some dimension, as well as the potential for romance—which could add to this story. And I appreciate that this female character is as strong and skilled as the male warriors.

The transition between modern time and historical time was jarring, and actually a tad concerning. Ignoring for a moment the mode of transportation, here we have a teenage girl, not only talking to men she doesn’t know—aka strangers—but taking a backpack—with unknown contents—from the first group of strangers and transporting it to another stranger. With a stray dog in tow. I realize that the men were meant to symbolize angels, however, common sense dictates that we not encourage this kind of behavior from our kids. Regardless of whether they believe they’re doing favors for angels—and especially if they don’t.

At the end, I felt cheated by the fact that there was no resolution to any of the subplots happening in the storyline. So many things were left in the air—including the major plot question posed in the very beginning—that I felt let down. To me, the ending was not so much a “cliffhanger,” but more accurately the point at which the author decided to stop writing. When I spend hours to get to the end of a book, I expect at least a degree of satisfaction when I finish the last page, even if I’m reading a series work. I have high expectations for the second installation, but will hesitate to read it, not knowing if the author will actually follow through on her promises at the end.

The story is cute, and I liked both main characters, but felt that considering the seriousness of the battles in which they were participating, the depth of emotion was left lacking.

I give “The Forgotten Warrior” three diamonds.

To read more about “The Forgotten Warrior” click here.

To purchase a copy, click here and here.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks, Nichole!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Thank you for reading and reviewing my book. Please rest assured the loose ends are taken care of in book two.