Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tomb of the Golden Wolf by D.K. Cowling--This brand new book release is now available to all readers!

Tomb of the Golden Wolf
by D.K. Cowling. [1]
Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     Does this sound familiar to you? A young man falls head-over-heels in love with a beautiful girl. Sexual urges prompt the two young people to begin a sexual relationship that causes the girl's family concern, so her father orders the boy to stay away for thirty days--to cool things off.

     The boy, trying to impress the girl's family, sets a fire on the front porch of the family's home, so he can rush in and save everybody--becoming the hero. It was a bad decision, and when confronted, he confesses to starting the fire and is sentenced to a mental hospital.  (Sound familiar, yet?) 

     Here's one last hint. The young man's love is "endless," so when he gets out of the hospital several years later, he violates the stay away order, and goes looking for the girl, who has since moved to New York. 

Endless Love, one of the
many book covers. [2]
     Following the girl to New York, the boy is observed stalking the girl by the girl's father who rushes into traffic in an attempt to chase down and catch the young man. Unfortunately, the girl's father is killed in traffic and when it is discovered theyoung man violated the stay-away order causing the father's death, he is arrested and sent to prison. 

     This is a short synopsis of the plot of the enduring and popular novel, Endless Love by Scott Spencer. I reviewed Scott Spencer's novel earlier this year in anticipation of the remake of the movie, Endless Love. You can see that review, book and movie information, and the trailer by clicking the link, here. 

A few "Coming of Age" books. [3]
     The story of Endless Love is popularly referred to as a "coming-of-age" story. A coming-of-age story is one in which a young man or woman goes on a journey from being a young, naive person to being wiser person, from being an idealist to being a realist, and most importantly from being immature to being a mature adult. [4] The reason I've given you a short break-down is to provide you with an introduction to the coming of age story. But before we talk about how this applies to our book, Tomb of the Golden Wolf, let's take a quick look at the synopsis of that novel.

SHORT BOOK SYNOPSIS:
[5]
     Long, long ago, a young man was coming of age. The boy turned man, discovering that he had been greatly wronged, became angry and sought vengeance. Circumstances shaped the young man's life and soon he found himself leading an army. He sought, also, to help the lives of thousands of people living in the "Three Sister Countries." 

     The book tells the stories of a people, both strong and brave, but also injured and wounded in body and in heart. It is the tale of a young man's quest to get vengeance on those who had injured him and his family.  It is also the tale of a legendary journey over vast oceans, across the wide, frozen ice, and the dauntless task of finding a way across rugged mountains. It is also a story about how even the strongest of men who only believe what they can see with their own eyes, mistrust others, especially those of other races. 

[6]
     The story of one young man and the people of the "Three Sister Countries," is one in which all must face the threat of war and vengeance and is also a story of growth, morality, honesty, integrity, and loyalty. The great story is the story of the struggle for love and freedom and peace. It is also the story of betrayal.

WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE BOOK:
     The "Coming-of-Age" story is one of the most popular story types in all of literature. Many, many wonderful, well-known stories have been published and eagerly devoured. Today, we look at a brand new coming of age story, Tomb of the Golden Wolf. We've already had a look at the synopsis, so let's get right to our discussion.

COMING OF AGE:
     Coming-of-age stories are also called, "Bildungsroman;" a German word that means "novel of education" or "novel of  formation." This class of novels deals with the maturation of the protagonist--how he or she matures and why. The novel, generally shows the development of the protagonist morally and psychologically, as well as, sometimes, physical maturity. 

A simplified graphic of "The Hero's Journey." [7]
     The journey of the protagonist is the hero's journey. It is one such that the young protagonist grows from foolish to wise, from immature to mature, or from making bad or rash choices to informed and thoughtful deci- sions. In the beginning, the protagonist has experienced some terrible loss or traumatic event: Loss of the mother, extreme injustice, experiences of war and death, or some quest that has been thrust upon him or her. And, as in all hero's journeys, the protagonist experi- ences obstacles, pain, suffering and struggle--in any event, the protagonist leaves behind a youthful and naive childhood and experiences that propel the protagonist forward into maturity. [4] Keep in mind that all coming of age stories do not have happy endings--for example, Endless Love, the example in the introduction.

     I've just given you the nutshell version of the hero's journey and the "Coming of age" story. To view an extensive review of the hero's journey in general, see my posting of the book, Ender's Game; to view that book review, click here.


WHAT THE AUTHOR DID WELL, AND WHAT I LIKED:

     The thing I most like about D.K. Cowling's novel is his writing style. It is easy to read and flows along smoothly. No stops or hiccups. The sentence structure is facile and easily read.

     Second, I liked the over arching plot. As I indicated in the introduction, the "Coming-of-age" story is one of the most popular of any literary form, as is the hero's journey. Wherever you look in lit- erature you will shortly find a novel that employs these devices. Many authors of famous novels have employed them--The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (click here to view that book re- view), The Giver by Lois Lowry (click here, to view that book review), and numerous others including the now popular, Hunger Games Tril- ogy by Suzanne Collins.

     Third: one of Cowling's techniques I really liked is what is called, "Parallelism of Events." This helps to facilitate a creatively interwoven story. Here are a few examples from the Tomb of the Golden Wolf: (1) Two golden wolves--the first golden wolf was an actual wolf, born a gold color and our young human protagonist, Darien, also called the Golden Wolf;

Dan/Blair and Mark/Juliet parallelism. [8]
(2) Two females who died sacri- ficing themselves for their child- ren by having their necks snapp- ed--the golden wolf's mother to protect her pups, and Darien's mother who shields him from a falling mast; (3) two characters who say goodbye to spouses, never to see them again: Darien's father when he said goodbye to his wife and child, and another I cannot relate because it would give away too much of the story; (4) two tombs; (5) two imprisoned in chains: The Golden Wolf's spirit chained within his tomb, and Darien's father chained in the same tomb; (6) two characters who offer their lives to protect another but fail: Tenderek promises Leopold he will protect Darien and his mother but fails, resulting in the mother's death, and another I cannot relate because it would give away the end of the story; and (7) of course, two deaths, two graves: Darien visits his mother's grave to grieve her loss, and suffering in grief, Kirow who had to bury his beloved hound and friend. Many more exist, but you get the idea. The many parallel events tie things together, nicely.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME:
[9]
     First, even though the legend of the Golden Wolf, Kerman Shan, followed the mythic creation of the world, there was no end to the story; I kept expecting the Golden Wolf to reappear later on in the story. The wolf thinks, "he would never forget his first encounter with man"[location 330]; so, I expect- ed more encounters. I was dis- appointed when I realized that wasn't going to happen--perhaps if Cowling had had the wolf die of old age, or be killed I would have had closure on the actual Golden Wolf and not keep expecting him to appear. It wasn't until very far in the book did I learn that the wolf was dead and wasn't going to get more of the wolf's story.

     Second, many, many places have misuses of words, for example, "stared." At one place, for instance, it is used correctly: "A yard or so in front of the man he stopped and stared into the man's eyes...." [loc. 339]. But then many other times misused: "The rider remained still; unmoving; starring into the darkness..." [loc. 364]. It is like this throughout the book--many misuses. (Note: I added the bold/underlining emphasis on the words within the quotes.)

     Third, in advertising for the book at one part it reads, "It is a tale of man's bond with wolf to fight a common cause." [1] I was looking for a special bond of man with wolf, but was disappointed that I had been misled--none existed. Poor advertising copy can make for unhappy and disappointed readers who may buy no further books from the author or publisher.

This is what the ending of the book felt like. A very
dramatic, abrupt ending. [10]
     Fourth, I was very unhappy with the ending--no, I will not be giving away what happened at the end of the book. But, it was shockingly abrupt. So much so that it made me feel that I was sorry I had read the book. Some might call it good writing, but I call the misdirection, a bum steer. I was very disappointed. Just to let you know, I'm not talking about a "sad" ending; those often work well in novels. To reiterate, I'm not against sad endings, just bad and abrupt ones.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS:
     The book was fairly clean; by that I mean, no profanity or cursing, and no flagrant sex. In a couple of places sex is discussed, but there are no flagrant sexual violations or debauchery. For people who are against smoking or drinking, this book has fairly consistent reports of pipe smoking and ale drinking and a couple scenes of drunkenness. Also, know that themes of vengeance and killing take place in the book--I would give a PG recommendation for this book, maybe even PG-13, if it were coming to movie theaters.

RATING:
[11]
     Even though there were a few things I really liked about the book, I cannot say that I would buy this book as a gift for anyone, nor would I be likely to read it, again. Too many notable flaws exist to give this book a good rating. It is with sadness, and for all the reasons I have listed, above, that I rate the book at 2.0 stars out of 5.

     Thank you for joining me this week as we looked at a new book release, Tomb of the Golden Wolf by D.K. Cowling. Please join me again next time as we take a look at another book of interest. Remember to pick up a book this week and read for a bit--it will help your mind. God bless you, my friends.

Until next time...
A double white Rose of Sharon. [12]
...many happy pages of reading!

My love to you all!

Sharon.




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REFERENCES
[1] "Tomb of the Golden Wolf." amazon.com. Retrieved 08-01-14.
[2] "Endless Love." [Scott Spencer] amazon.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[3] "Coming of Age Novels." penuches.rssing.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[4] "Coming of Age Novel...." [education portal] education-portal.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[5] "Synopsis." ntwriters.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[6] "Freedom to Reach our Potential." [graphic chains] theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[7] "The Hero's Journey." [journey graphic] contentmarketinginstitute.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[8] "Dan/Blair and Mark/Juliet Parallelism." fanpop.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[9] "No Wonder It Didn't Work." explodingdog.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[10] "Abrupt Ending." pixdaus.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[11] "Now You See Me--2 Glitzy, Bloated Stars (Out of 5)" [two-star graphic] cinedork.com. Retrieved 08-06-14.
[12] "Pictures From My Garden." sparkpeople.com. Retrieved 06-18-14.
[*] "Netgalley." netgalley.com. Retrieved 08-05-14.