- File Size: 5975 KB
- Print Length: 282 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing (June 11, 2014)
- Publication Date: June 11, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00KY8S39S
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,055 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||$10.95|
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The Eye of Tanub (The Into Terratir Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I struggled with some of the contradictions, which I’ll discuss later, but found that I was interested enough in the story and the characters to keep reading until the end. That is fairly uncommon for me, so I applaud Cunningham for her gift of prose and character development.
Overall, I feel the book is geared for middle grade to young adult audiences. A reader will certainly have to suspend their disbelief to be entertained, and there is nothing wrong with that. Because the book is published by “Clean Teen Publishing,” you’d expect a book free of sex, swearing and graphic violence. To the publisher’s credit, they included a “content discloser” at the start of the book which I wish more publishers would do. To me, the book showed that an engaging narrative can be written without swearing or sex (note: sex meaning graphic descriptions, not romantic elements). I felt the violence was a bit more graphic than I’d expect from a book for younger readers, but nothing severe enough to make me doubt the sincerity of the “YA” rating.
The rest of this review could contain some “spoilers,” so stop reading here if you don’t want to be subjected to those.
The basic premise of the book is that it is a diary of a teenaged girl named Lauren. (She turns 16, sort of, in the book.) To that end, it is mostly written in first person, past tense. It is the tale of her trip to a fantasy world with her younger brother—a fantasy world which just so happens to be the same as one of the video games her brother, Zach, plays on his computer, including characters Zach has created.
The diary format can work to tell a story, but in The Eye of Tanúb it becomes problematic. There are times when her brother Zach tells part of the story, from his point of view, in her diary. Cunningham does a decent job helping the reader keep track of which person is writing in the diary by chapter and section headings. But it is Cunningham’s outstanding prose and descriptions which contradict the diary format. Consider the following sentences, “The terrain turned from beautiful, lush and green, to a dry, reddish brown. Trees became scarce, and cacti grew abundantly.” I actually like these sentences; they are well written. But I don’t see it as something a teenaged girl would write in her journal—especially based on how the book starts out.
Another challenge with the format is that it switches to third person to tell the story of Kalika, a character from the fantasy world. Supposedly Kalika tells her story to Zach who then writes it in the journal. But once again, the phrasing of this part of the story is very well written, which, to me, contradicts that it is being written by a fourteen-year-old boy.
Throughout the book, there are other minor contradictions. For example, when Lauren and Zach first arrive, Zach reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of coins—he’s not sure where he got them. That’s fine, and something I chalked up to the fantasy element of the story. Not long after, Zach tries to convince a character named Dardanos to help them. What happens? Here is the line from the book: “Dardanos wanted payment, but we had no money.” At that moment, I was drawn out of the book. I thought, “Wait, they do have money. What happened to it?”
Another minor issue was that at roughly a third of the way into the book, “Part 2” starts. I thought, “Okay. No problem. Books are often told in a three act format.” But there wasn’t a Part 3, which I kept expecting.
Lastly, the ending felt a bit rushed with the final resolution happening pretty easily, in my opinion.
Still, despite these nit-picky concerns, I enjoyed the book. I loved the premise and found myself attached to the characters. There is no question that M. E. Cunningham is a talented author with a great imagination. It’s my hope that this review gives some perspective on certain elements of her writing without detracting from her strengths.
The romance comes off as much too juvenile as well.
In spite of the short comings this is a fun story.