Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley/ Anticipated Release
Synopsis: "Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in an epic middle grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson.
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home -- until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything -- including them."
My Review: I found the synopsis for this one to be very intriguing and was happy I was able to pick it up. It definitely gave me Narnia vibes but with a very different twist. It is slow moving with not a lot of climax but it was more focused on the characters. I really loved following the way Morgan and Eli's characters developed throughout the story and how their relationship changed the more they learned about each other. The Indigenous adds another element to the story, making it so different than other portal stories. The world is so atmospheric, you will feel like you are there, maybe a great book for winter vacation reading. I am definitely intrigued to read more in the series as they come out.
My Review: This was such a great book, I love that some readers will be able to see themselves in this book when there are so few available. I also really enjoyed the way that Megan and Eli were able to grow throughout the story and adventure, it was a great start to a coming of age series. I give it a rating of Four Paws!
I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley. The above is my honest review and opinion.
The Barren Grounds was just released on September 8th so you can obtain your own copy now in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or independent bookstore.