My place beside you, my blood for yours. Till the Green Ember rises or the end of the world!The Green Ember, S.D. Smith
Greetings, fellow Lightbringers! For my second ever blog post, I have decided to write what I consider to be a mixture of a book review and a persuasive essay. (I guess English class does pay off!) Before you run away screaming at the mention of the word essay, let me explain!
One of my new favorite books is called The Green Ember. I had heard of this book several times in the past few years. I even looked it up online to read the description. The book cover was interesting—two rabbits standing on a hill, one with a sword and the other with a staff—but I confess that I wasn’t interested enough to order it from the library. I forgot completely about the book and probably would never have read it if a friend hadn’t recommended it to me again. I’m glad I did; this book is a gem.
Here’s the official synopsis for the book:
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?https://sdsmith.net/book/the-green-ember/
What can be meant by that? Extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives? This sounds like a children’s book! I assure you, though, this story can hold readers of all ages spellbound. It’s a masterpiece overflowing with intense action, riveting suspense, compelling themes, and wonderful characters.
The book begins just as the synopsis suggests. Heather and Picket are young rabbits living with their family in a secluded haven called Nick Hollow. Heather is a talented runner and storyteller, but she is afraid her tales aren’t good enough. Picket is protective of his little brother Jacks and has a fear of heights. Even though these may seem like ordinary details, they are seeds which lead to amazing character development.
The world of Natalia is embroiled in an age-old conflict between rabbitkind and its greatest foes. The Green Ember certainly doesn’t disappoint on the promised tumult, tyrants, and terrors. The lore alone proves that the author put a great deal of thought into writing these books. Even if you can’t read the whole series, I would highly recommend the first book, which can stand alone as its own story.
So, what did I learn from The Green Ember?
No. 1: Emotion
This book contains amazing prose. In some scenes, I could feel the characters’ joys and heartaches. Sometimes I just had to set down the book to fully process a short sentence. The mere act of a character closing her eyes on tears as she goes to sleep conveys so much emotion without having to state outright that she felt lost and sad and worried. Another moving quote was this: “Was Father getting sadder, or was she just getting old enough to see it?” So much emotion is packed into those few words.
No. 2: Action
The action in this book grabs your attention and never lets go. The author doesn’t hesitate to put his characters into tricky situations that seem to have no escape. He also employs the cliffhanger tactic quite often, which is very useful to keep readers hooked. This is the kind of book that will keep you up until 3 a.m. even though you only promised yourself one more chapter.
No. 3: Theme
This series is full to the brim with poignant aphorisms that really force you to think. They tie back to the story’s theme of growing up and finding your place. Throughout the series, hope is also a prominent theme, connected to the characters’ longing for a better world (“The Mended Wood”). The themes were beautifully wrought and not overdone in any way. I never felt like I was being “preached at” by any of the characters, and neither was the message too veiled to distinguish.
No. 4: Characters
As I said above, The Green Ember contains some amazing characters. Even as rabbits, they are realistic and relatable. In order to achieve this, characters must have flaws and shortcomings. Readers will not sympathize with a perfect character who has no struggles. S.D. Smith does an excellent job with character development in this series. For example, in The Green Ember, Picket desires to be treated like an adult even though he has episodes of sullen resentment that make it hard for other characters to respect that wish. Picket’s journey teaches readers that honor only comes when one displays the courage and maturity to deserve it.
No. 5: Foreshadowing
Having just finished the fourth and final book of the series, Ember’s End, I can tell you that the foreshadowing in this series is incredible. Every plotline introduced in earlier books is revisited, sometimes in surprising ways. Side characters are not forgotten, playing a (sometimes large) role in later events. Even in just the first book, foreshadowing lays a foundation that important plot twists build upon.
In conclusion, The Green Ember is an excellent book that everyone (especially writers) should read. From moving prose and heart-pounding adventure to compelling themes, relatable characters, and masterful foreshadowing, this book has everything an intrepid reader could want.