“A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective.”
Now, I know that this particular quote is a big ball of hidden meanings and Yoda-esq wisdom, but it is literally the only thing I could think about when reading “The Gleaning.”
Let me take a step back and explain (for those of you that find my train of thought irritatingly abstract.) Every journey/story has a point A and a point B (aka beginning and end.) You can choose to walk a straight line between the two. Remain comfortable in your predictable surroundings, or you can choose to veer off the path. This is called choosing your own adventure. Sure, it may be harder. The challenges you face may leave permanent marks on your body and soul, but they also give you character. Build strength. Provide you with unconventional experience.
Books are wonderful examples of choosing to zig while the rest of the world zags. (Would you like an example? Ok. Lord of the Rings. Big whopping zig. Divergent. Ziggity zam. Percy Jackson. *insert witty zig variation*) But at the end of the day, the path the characters take in these books are still chosen by someone else. The author.
Heidi R. Kling broke convention so that YOU could too. She may have written the book, but she gave the reader a chance to veer off the path. Lead HER characters straight into the fire, or opt for the surrounding forest instead. And let me tell you…it’s refreshing to finally have a say.
Last year I read “Witch’s Brew” the first book in Kling’s “Spellspinners” series and suffice it to say…I was impressed. And while I am still stunned into aww-filled silence by Kling’s ability to pen multiple delivery methods for one story, I did find myself upset by the barefaced lack of forward movement in “The Gleaning.”
I’m not implying the novel fell into a bottomless pit and never recovered, but I did find myself wishing for a little less conversation and a little more action (if you know what I mean.) To be blunt: the constant need to “talk about” plans instead of “acting on them” made me want to drop-kick’ a kitten. It wasn’t until the last two or so chapters that I felt the momentum pick-up, but at that point (regardless of its monumental ending which had me drop-jawed) it was almost too late.
The characters however held strong and solid. Storming a magic-induced drama path through a truly unique plot. Add a dash of epic love and heart-wrenching betrayal and the final product (though slow at times) is a solid score for paranormal interactive fiction. If I had a stamp…it would say “APPROVED.”
It’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” for a new generation, and I LOVE it!
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Click image for additional details.