Monday, October 31, 2011

On the Volcano by James Nelson

Set in the rural and dangerous land of "New Pacifica", a young heroine longs to explore the world below the volcano she's always known. When Katie gets her chance at seeing other people, she is both surprised and disappointed about life outside her protected homestead. Danger and love follow Katie back and the events that follow will change her world forever...for the worst and the best.

At first I didn't think On the Volcano would hold my interest. The first couple chapters weren't that exciting and the writing style was just a bit too "juvenile" for someone my age. I decided to stick it out and by the middle of the book, Nelson had me. Katie's trip to town turned into a year long "nightmare" of how cruel people can be. Yet, at the same time, Katie discovers love.
On the Volcano did have some issues with how it was written and the basis of the plot. At times it was rather dull and the story spans over a year, sometimes nothing would happen. Although the setting was exciting enough–a volanco!–the descriptions of the landscape was blah when it could have been exciting. It gave you a very isolated feeling, which of course may serve as good feeling to bring up when reading a story about a isolated girl. I also felt that how the characters continued to lie to the Sheriff about what was really going on atop the volcano. After awhile it became in a sense, kind of silly.
However, it was still a nice story. The last half of the book was probably the best part of it. The message of life vs. death was very prominent by the final page. The actual place in which On the Volcano was actually set is a mystery to me. Part of me wants to say it took place in the mid–1800s when the American West was opening up; another part of me thinks it was a sort of dystopian setting. Either way it doesn't play a big part of the storyline...still makes you curious though.
Overall, On the Volcano turned into be a touching story of how love and family can go against hardships and the cruelty of the world.

Recommendation: Not quite a middle grade book and–because of the writing style–not quite a YA novel either On the Volcano is just...there. I can't really recommend to young readers mostly because 1) it probably wouldn't hold 10-12 yr. old's attention 2) by the final couple chapters there are much more "mature" themes introduced that didn't feel as if it was meant for kids. Katie's character is very innocent and childlike for her age, so YA readers wouldn't necessarily go for this either. YET, at the same time, like a mentioned earlier, not everything is "juvenile": murder, death, and sensuality. If I were a librarian I'd be officially confused as to what section to categorize it. However, if I had to choose between Children's/Middle Fiction and Young Adult I'd have to place it with the teen novels. I recommend On the Volcano to the general public...if it sounds like it'll interest you, go for it.

Content: Descriptions of murder, death, and near-rape. Some sensuality 
<SPOILER ALERT> and a brief wedding night scene.</SPOILER ALERT> 

|Pages: 272|Release Date: August 2011|Publisher: Putnam Son's|
|Genre: Coming of Age, Family, Romance, Dystopian(?), Historical Fiction (?)|
|Cover: 5/5|Content Rating: 4/5|Overal Rating: 4/5|

1 comment:

Cindy (Oodles of Books) said...

Never heard of this, but it sounds great! Awesome review :)

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