Have you ever considered what it actually means to be “different”?  To step outside the norms of society and truly be yourself, despite the sideways glances, outright disapproval and criticism which may inevitably follow.  To be true to one’s self undoubtedly requires a fair degree of courage and fortitude.  A willingness to persevere despite overwhelming odds.  Now apply this concept to the animal kingdom.  You will find that it is not really that much different.  Various groups of animals have their own set of rules and norms and to step outside these could lead to a very swift demise.  If such notions have sparked your interest, then Akea- The Power of Destiny by author Elizabeth Jade will be an absolute treat!

The story is actually presented through the first person animal perspective of Akea.  She is born into a family of sled dogs, but there is something very different about this particular Husky.  Her father perhaps captures it best when he surmises:  “Akea was different from the other pups.  She felt special, even though he didn’t know why.”  This uniqueness fully comes to light when Akea first sees a lone wolf by the name of Kazakh.  It is then and there she realizes that her true destiny lies well outside the relative safety of her sled dog family.  Akea proceeds to run away from home so that she can join up with Kazakh whose ultimate objective is to help her to discover her one true path.  However, in doing so he must bend and break every rule and norm of the pack.  Afterall, they will argue that Akea is different and a mere Husky who has no business running with the pack.  What follows is the ultimate struggle for validation and survival.  With Kazakh’s help will Akea discover her true path?  Or has her distinctness already determined her ultimate future as a veritable outcast?

Without a doubt, I was entirely impressed with this story.  The theme of being true to yourself was enhanced with the exploration of such notions as intolerance, bullying and ultimately love.  The fact that this was all presented from an animal’s perspective made it quite unique and all that more engaging.  The tale was also action packed and literally kept this reader glued to each passing page.  This author has an excellent handle on plot development.  To make it even more impressive, the flow of the writing is smooth and beautiful and simply glides from one idea and passage to the next.  There were a few potentially graphic scenes, but they were quite necessary in order to maintain the authenticity and believability factor of a story presented from an animal perspective.

The characters in the story also get top marks.  There is a good mix of wolves and huskies throughout.  They all play their supporting roles well, but Akea and Kazakh are developed in the most depth.  For instance, their relationship takes on a central role in the story and the budding love is palpable.  Be that as it may, Akea in particular grows in the most depth and detail.  Whether she is half-wolf, half-husky or not… the reader will find themselves identifying with and cheering on this furry protagonist.  In particular, I found the relationship that Akea had with a variety of other characters, such as her sister Faith, to be quite revealing and emotionally stirring.

Overall I simply loved this story.  It is so smooth and beautifully written.  The flow is fluid and seamless.  Although this book is listed in a children’s genre, I would recommend it to virtually any reader.  I am 51 years old and I loved it!  That being said, I can certainly see how younger readers in particular will identify with the compelling writing and contemporary themes.  The ability to express one’s own individuality is a well sought commodity…particularly in younger readers.

I look forward to reading more work by this author!

5 out of 5 Howling Stars for this one!   *****