TEEN BOOK BATTLE
Both of these books by Joseph Brachac draw upon folk tales of Native American tribes.
The Dark Pond started well. The main character, Armin, is a Shawnee boy with an affinity for animals. Birds flock to him and wild foxes play fetch the stick with him. Sadly, this aspect of the story was never fully developed. Armin hears voices from a pond behind his school dorm and has frightening dreams. The ending of the story was disappointing because questions were left unanswered and problems were unresolved. This was not done in a way that would lead you to believe that there will be a follow-up book to neatly tie things up either. Armin seemed to just shrug off the whole “event” and go on with his life, which did not ring true.
Whisper in the Dark was about Maddy, a Narraganset Indian girl, who has been told the story of a monster that feeds not only on the blood of his victims, but also their fear. He whispers to his prey days before he takes them.
For Maddy, the terror starts when she gets strange phone calls and a chilling note left on her door. Neighborhood dogs are killed and her Aunt goes missing. This book had a big build up before the ending, with lots of explanations about Native American culture and language usage. However, the ending itself was quite lame. Very disappointing.
If I had it to do over again, I would give both of these books a pass. The author knows how to start stories and has some good ideas, but doesn’t know how to follow through with the plot to a satisfactory ending. It just stops. And now so will I.