Thursday, June 4, 2009

Enchanting Review: Nation

Young Adult Action/Adventure
ISBN# 0061433012
367 pages
Hardcover-Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Mau is a young man with an indestructible spirit. He’s full of questions, something that isn’t highly encouraged. When his world is turned upside down and then thoroughly erased, he must find the strength to go on. Neither a boy nor a man, Mau becomes a new sort of person. With the help of his memories, Mau forges a new path and rebuilds The Nation.

No hero can do it alone! Wherever there is a strong young man ready to battle demons and life itself, there must be an equally strong young woman. Daphne is about as strong as they come. Marooned on Mau’s island after her ship crashes in a storm, Daphne is left with nobody for company save the strange boy who always seems to walk around the island as if in a dream. Daphne is an intelligent young lady and full of personality. The spark between the two as they attempt to communicate through language barriers and rebuild their worlds together is absolutely amazing.

NATION is the story of a world in disaster. A plague has ripped through the “civilized” world while a giant tidal wave takes out many small islands. One of these is Mau’s. When he returns home from a coming of age visit to the Boy’s Island, he finds that everything he knows is gone – completely erased. His friends, his family, the entire Nation was swept out to sea. Not having had the special ceremony that turns a boy into a man, he is now no longer boy, nor man. When he meets Daphne, he must struggle to communicate with her and go on with life even though he questions everything he knows. As they rebuild the community they are met with survivors coming from other islands every day. With their help, Mau and Daphne might just be able to put the Nation and Mau’s soul at peace.

Contrary to popular belief, NATION is not set in any part of what we know as Earth. Terry Pratchett wrote this book as an alternate reality world, so many bets are off when it comes down to rules and the laws of nature. I absolutely loved that about this book. His world has a high sense of realism to it. This story could happen anywhere and yet, at the same time, we are met with instances where the impossible happens. There are rarely moments when you’re thrown into what is definitely from the imagination. Instead, these magical moments are thrown throughout the book, creating a realistically impossible world.

Outside of the wonderful world building that Pratchett did, I found that the relationship between Mau and Daphne was my second favorite aspect of the book. There are many obstacles to their friendship including the color of their skin, their customs, language, etc. Whatever could be different about these two is, save for their enduring personalities and strong wills. I loved this because it was a nice conflict that added that extra tension to the story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s already plenty of delicious tension sprinkled throughout these pages. No, this added tension between the characters. Something that kept us reading, pulled to the characters just as they were pulled to each other.

I thought NATION was absolutely fantastic and surprisingly very funny! There were times when my eyes ran ahead of my brain and I got a little confused, so I suggest taking your time with the book. Pratchett has created a complicated world, but one that is completely filled with color and beauty. Feel free to reread passages or entire pages if you need to. Trust me, it’s completely worth it. This is definitely one of the books that I would pick up and reread over and over again.
The award-winning author, Terry Pratchett, can be found at I highly suggest you visit his website and take a peek around. He’s hilariously funny.
May 2009

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