“Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.
Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.
Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?” (from Amazon)
Rabbits? That has to be something cute like Beatrix Potter’s stories, right? That’s what I thought when I heard about this book by S.D. Smith. I picked it up anyway since it looked all right and might be something my little sisters would enjoy. Rabbits, seriously? No, these rabbits are different—they have swords, and a war, and a lost king. They have a well-written, compelling story (good enough to have quotes out of it!) that surprised me with its depth of plot. The cover shows that it was probably intended for middle graders. Sorry, eight-to-twelve-year-olds, I claim it. It’s mine.
The Setting: Set in the fantasy world of Natalia—a world very much like our own—this book had a nice heroic and medieval feel. Since it’s told from the perspective of rabbits, that made the action quite different from your usual book; and it also made the regular dangers of the forest even scarier. Seriously, imagine being able to jump around like crazy while you are sword fighting or to give a wolf a hard kick with your hind legs.
The Story: The story was very good, better than some things I’ve read that are for older audiences! At first glance, it seems quite similar to all the other oh-wow-we’re-the-lost-heirs-of-wherever books. Not so in the least! Very surprising and satisfying. There were also great lessons on forgiveness and heart-warming (even funny!) moments along the way.
The Characters: I loved Heather and Picket—they were so real. (I even forgot they were rabbits at some points.) Emma, Gort, Uncle Wilfred, and Smalls were also great favorites of mine. I found Kyle and Helmer intriguing and couldn’t wait to find out who they really were.
The Concerns: Parents should have caution in choosing this book for younger readers because of some intense, un-graphic action and some bad attitude that is later resolved. Also, SPOILER ALERT!!!! Heather and Picket’s home is burnt by some pretty scary wolves, and they don’t know what happened to their parents and baby brother. And because they are rabbits (that’s not important though, right?) when they are underground there is mention of creepy creatures chasing them and the wolves do threaten to eat them sometimes. And, SPOILER ALERT AGAIN!!! massive battle at the end does mention rabbits being dead or wounded.
So—read this book!!!!! I found it to be an awesome, well-written story! It is actually the second book, but it can pretty much stand-alone.
This review is getting dangerously long. You can drop off now, or you can stick around for some really awesome quotes. ; )
“Like the blazing branch they had only just escaped, the rain came down suddenly, with no pitter-patter of polite introduction.”
Smith, S. D. (2014-12-12). The Green Ember (Kindle Locations 137-138). Story Warren Books. Kindle Edition.
“What do I always tell you? ‘Not enough salt is an in-salt,’ and ‘Too much salt is an as-salt!’”
Smith, S. D. (2014-12-12). The Green Ember (Kindle Location 1432). Story Warren Books. Kindle Edition.
“This is from wisdom, child,” Mrs. Weaver said. “Growing up is terribly wonderful. But often it’s also wonderfully terrible. Ha, a riddle of words amounting to nothing. A stuttering cleverism that falls as short as my feeble steps. But this is true. A teacher could become rich if he ever perfected the art of helping mature students unlearn many awful things. Enjoy your innocence, my dear. Even if it only lasts the day.”
Smith, S. D. (2014-12-12). The Green Ember (Kindle Locations 2386-2389). Story Warren Books. Kindle Edition.
“He turned to look at Picket, and there were tears in his eyes. “Picket,” he said quietly, “stay angry. It’s okay if it’s at me, for now. If you aren’t angry about the wicked things happening in the world all around, then you don’t have a soul.”
Smith, S. D. (2014-12-12). The Green Ember (Kindle Locations 1017-1019). Story Warren Books. Kindle Edition.
And I, Lady Kate, leave you with this—the poetic Green Ember pledge. We nerds love it over here. ; )
“Picket smiled. “My place beside you. My blood for yours. Till the Green Ember rises, or the end of the world.”
Smith, S. D. (2014-12-12). The Green Ember (Kindle Locations 3366-3367). Story Warren Books. Kindle Edition.