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Son of the Great River: 11/04/09
I consider a book a success when it makes me put it aside to look something up. In the case of Son of the Great River by Elijah Meeks I ended up spending a half an hour or so looking up pre bronze age history of the middle east. That is the time and roughly the place where this young adult novel is set.
In the opening chapter when the stranger from the south dies before Saffu I first thought the novel was taking place somewhere along the prairies of North America but in ancient times. Clearly though as Saffu travels south to take the message of her passing it became obvious that I had the wrong part of the world in mind
Son of the Great River is about the mixing of vastly different cultures: some very modern ones with cities and bureaucracies and all the other things associated with city-states, and tribal, nomadic cultures. As the time period is so long ago, the world view covers a very small piece of the world and the cultures live in their own (almost) micro-climates. Imagine if you will San Jose being cut off from Salinas. One is a very urban and crowded city. The other city is rural with the main economy being agriculture. Now imagine someone walking from Salinas to San Jose, knowing that a big city existed up there but not being fully prepared for just how big and how different it was. That's what Son of the Great River manages to convey
The review at Violet Crush mentions that the novel is confusing. I agree. It is at times and like her I had to go back and re-read passages. Nonetheless, I was so curious about the world of Saffu and how his story would connect with Samhail and Reem's adventures that I didn't mind the effort to re-read
I received this book from the author for review. I have since released the book through BookCrossing.