By: Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps
“First they came for the communists,
And I did not speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
And I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me,
And then there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Does the quotation noted above resonate with you in any way? The possibility of individual rights and freedoms being gradually stripped away. The very lives of individuals at risk while others stay silent in witness to such atrocities in hopes that they themselves will remain safe. Grim notions indeed! Now take these weighty thoughts and sprinkle in some thrilling fantasy in the form of trolls, wizards and fairies who are attempting to survive in an oppressive dystopian world. For lovers of intelligent and imaginative fictional fantasy which will engross you from start to finish… Wham! by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps is a top pick!
The novel primarily follows the escapades of the Greenwood family. They are living under the cruel and tyrannical rule of the World Alliance who have seized power from all the governments in the world and united as one supreme power. All individuality, freedom and liberty has been removed from the citizens of the world in the name of the “greater good”. Under the constant and watchful eye of the crystal spying balls called skinwelers, all citizens have to be extremely careful and cognizant of their every action. One false move under this unforgiving realm will lead to utter disaster. Alas, a lesson the Greenwood family finds out first hand. One night their home is invaded by government agents and the family is moved, separated and forced into unbearable situations. It is under these conditions that we are able to see the formation of a resistance begin in this fantastical world. Will the Greenwoods ever come back together as one? Or will the dark and evil forces ultimately impose their will on this mystical world?
I found the plot of this novel to be very fast-paced, engaging and utterly creative. The coming of age theme is supported by beautifully flowing writing which is full of action while it pokes and stirs up a variety of emotions within the reader at the same time. For instance, you cannot help but become entirely livid…yet hopeful… by the abusive situations which the Greenwoods are forced to endure. All of this takes place within an imaginative story-world in which this breathtaking setting is entirely darkened by the oppressive overtones contained within. Such juxtaposition is not only clever, but entirely captivating as well. If I had any “complaint” to make about the book, it would be that some of the language is hard to comprehend as it takes place in various tongues (e.g., fairy and troll). However, to be clear, this was quite necessary to make the story more authentic and believable. Potential lack of believability in a fantasy story-world will kill any novel very quickly. Also, it must have taken the authors a great deal of effort to concoct the language. It just sometimes impeded with the wonderful flow of the story for me personally.
There are also a plethora of very intriguing characters in this novel. They are not your typical cast of human players however. There is a dynamic mix of trolls, wizards, faeries and humans. One of the elements which makes this story so great is that in such a “fairy tale” like atmosphere, the characters are very believable and authentic. They face dire and devastating circumstances and still find the fortitude within to rise up against such overpowering odds. Tess, who can certainly be seen as the main protagonist, is a perfect example of such a well developed character. We see a great deal of growth in her and Nia, and get the sense that something very big is yet to come.
Overall I found this novel to be an excellent read and I would highly recommend it to all readers. It is actually very difficult to “categorize” it as one particular genre. It hits so many different interests and groups: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, political thriller…you get the picture!
Wham! 5 out of 5 Fantastical Stars for this one!