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Calico (Children of the Shawnee) (Volume 1) Paperback – May 4, 2013
Calico by Allison Bruning is the best Native American fiction I have read in a long time. She beautifully takes the reader into the Shawnee world. The story moves quickly and reads like a movie. Her secondary characters helped move the story. The story accurately portrays the Shawnee's version of history. The main characters are strong. I can't wait to read the sequel. The author left me wanting more. She has little gems in her book that could be further explained in her sequels. I could also tell she had a few characters that would be great for a spin off. Wonderfully compelling!
This book was very accurate in the portrayal of The Shawnee Indians.
Calico is having a hard time adjusting to her adoptive parents. What is a girl to do when she feels like she should be one way but is expected to be a different? Will she ever forgive the person who betrayed her? Will she ever have a truce between herself and a boy she hates? Read on to find out! This book is so capturing that once you read it you will not be able to put it down! If you are a real history buff then you will def love love this book. -----Teelovesgio
From the Author
Calico was a very interesting book for me. The series, Children of the Shawnee, began in the summer of 2008 when I wrote 700 pages in two months. I have always been interested in Native American cultures, especially the Shawnee people. I studied anthropology with an emphasis in Native American cultures in college. As an avid reader, I was always looking for a good Native American book from the point of view of the tribes. Yet those books are far and few between. Whenever the Shawnee people are in the media they are depicted as blood thirsty killers. I decided to create an authentic series with the story told from the Shawnee's point of view.
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This book tried to have it all in a grand fashion. There are what appear to be the equivalent of a family of French ninjas, very confusing lineages, incest, rape and some paranormal stuff tossed in like a cup of salt in a cake batter. I really think this book could've used one or two more passes from some qualified editors before it went to press. There is a lot of exposition. And I mean, a LOT of it. But it doesn't always help the story. I know this period fairly well, being a fan of Kenneth Roberts' novels and James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. I think most people in the US do vaguely remember the frontier and colonial life from our basic grade school classes. These character bemoan their plights way too much and far too unabandonedly for any of them to be sympathetic to me.
If you are going to write about the tempestuous era of Colonial America, you better get the names right. As far as I know, there was no "Colonel Jeffry Amhearst". I seem to recall the real Amherst was a Major-General around the time period of book, having been named Governor-General of Britain's holdings in four years before this story starts. There are a few minor errors like that, which I hope are corrected in the next edition.
The dialogue in this book can be very confusing at times. Several characters speak in a English-French-Shawnee kind of patois that is incredibly difficult to follow. While I personally know more Shawnee words than French, I couldn't come close to following this. It is sort of like when Agatha Christie would put a big clue or plot point in French dialogue from Poirot just to show off as being pompous and "intellectual." There was also a Scot character whose dialogue was written phonetically in such a pidgin fashion that it literally hurts your brain to read it. I tried reading it aloud to my wife and she made me stop because she was afraid her ears would start bleeding. It is one thing to be concerned with being in-character and making things sound right for the particular time and place. One's most important duty as a writer is to be understood. If we can't understand what your characters are saying, we can't follow the story. I'm sure there's probably a whole bunch of subtle plotlines I missed because I had no idea what people were saying.
If you are multilingual and like Native American-themed stories, or tales of Colonial America, you may enjoy this book, presumably if you can understand it. I simply found it a very difficult read. Your mileage, of course, may vary.
A love story stemming out of apparent hate is well developed, and the use of paranormal somehow makes the plot believable.
I liked this book. I look forward to reading the story of Rose, Calico's sister.