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Posted July 17, 2012
An enormously surprising book for me, Into the Mist takes place between this world and another where magic rules and there is an epic battle between good and evil.
Why was it surprising? Because the premise of the book, while promising, revolves around a thirteen-year-old boy. And I didn't think that a book that has a young boy as its hero would be as profound as this. From the beginning I was completely wrapped up in the story of Gabe and his new friend Ellie. Gabe, who has a hard time making friends due to a battle with epilepsy, immediately connects to his next-door-neighbor, Ellie, who has a secret to share.
And, as if is medical condition wasn't enough, Gabe has a mother who hounds him and doesn't understand him, a brother who, seemingly, hates him, and isn't very popular at his new school. And, finally, Ellie introduces him to a whole new mysterious world that opens up the door to another side of who Gabe is.
Anyone who loves fantasy stories, and against-all-odds circumstances will undoubtedly enjoy this read.
In my opinion, Steve Finegan is a brilliant writer, with a brilliant story to tell.
Posted July 2, 2012
Gabe is a young teen under pressure. He has just moved to a new town, facing a new house, a new school, and all the trouble that comes with it. In addition to his regular stresses, he lives with an epilepsy disorder resulting from a head injury when he was little. Strangely, his affliction initiates a connection to something fantastic. After meeting the perky neighbor girl, Ellie, supernatural things begin to happen to Gabe. A strange wood full of old trees, a ruin, a witch's ghost, and a creepy legend all lead into the Mist.
Steve's story is packed with action, fantastic scenes, and heroics. Gabe's calling and unique challenges flavor this story with realism alongside the supernatural. All the awkwardness of life as an early teen, coupled with that knowledge that somehow he is different from everyone, inferior, makes Gabe a compelling character. The amazing things he has to do to overcome his fear and doubt to set things right make me want him to succeed.
I did feel that sometimes the flow of the story was interrupted by excessive description. I sympathize with the author's love of his scenery and ceremony, but I think he would have achieved better flow if he had left it to the reader to imagine some of the setting.
The ending left me wanting more, which was intentional. Themes of honor, trustworthiness, consideration, and responsibility made it an excellent read for kids. I particularly liked his themes of redemption and how it wasn't an easy fix. Gabe had to suffer to make things right when he screwed up. I can't wait to see what happens in the continuation!
Posted May 9, 2012
A new exciting young adult fantasy series recently hit bookshelves in the novel INTO THE MIST: SILVER HAND by Steve Finegan. Just as most thirteen year olds Gabe Wrenn seeks solace from bullies in his imagination. The outcome is a talent for drawing and storytelling that results in the creation of a graphic novel, a novel he shares with no one, until he meets Ellie. Then suddenly his whole world opens up. But with added popularity comes even harsher bullying. You want to know how Gabe navigates the move to a new home, a new school while dealing with an over protective mother and a new doctor. Gabe has epilepsy and the way Steve Finegan explores this aspect of the novel is one of the most interesting parts of the story, although he leaves us wondering if Gabe is traveling between two worlds or if his epilepsy is feeding his fantasy.
This book is the kind of story all ages will enjoy. How can you resist the Brynmor Witch, Lord Corvus or Raven Women? However, I must insert a caveat -- the book finished way before I was ready for it to finish. In my mind the solution to the story’s first problem, the cutting down of the trees in The Woods of Brynmor Park, should have been solved before the next problem arose. In other words there is a jaw dropping cliffhanger.
This is a book I would highly recommend and a series I look forward to reading more off. INTO THE MIST: SILVER HAND introduces us to Gabe Wrenn, and the inspired world he has created for his graphic novel. This was a thrilling read. I can't wait for Steve Finegan's next installment, promised for 2012 BRINGER OF THE DAWN!
Posted May 7, 2012
This is a very interesting and well written book that will keep your attention to the end. The initial chapters start creating the ambient and the plot warm up in direction to the intense final moments of this first of two fantasy books narrating the saga of our heroes.
The plot is simple to follow. The family of a young boy (Gabe) with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy moves to a new city, where the boy has to adapt himself to his neighborhood and his new school. He befriends with a girl next door (Ellie) and together they start living adventures in the woods behind his property, where it used to live a woman that was considered to be a witch. And things develop from there and during his epileptic crises, he is transported to an alternate world, rich in mythological creatures, where he has the role of a hero. The description of the alternate world is superb and you will get involved easily with the new set of characters. Although the story starts slowly, it goes on a "crescendo" till it reaches its climax at the end. It is a very entertaining book, very well written. Really enjoyable.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that love young adult novels with a good plot, with mystery, suspense, friendship, basically all good ingredients to a great fantasy book.
This book was written by Steve Finegan and it was published in January 2012. The author was kind enough to provide me an electronic copy for reviewing in .mobi format. I was not required to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.
Posted April 5, 2012
I wasn’t sure what I would make of Steve Finnegan’s Into the Mist as I started reading. I enjoy fantasy though I’m getting a little jaded by books trying to hook me into series. I’m fascinated by how the mind works, but I’m not sure how well sympathy and illness lead to plausible characters. And I love ancient mythology but sometimes feel dismayed at how modern stories tend to use it instead of reinterpreting it.
That said, I actually enjoyed this book a lot and was sorry to read the final page. Please, please… I want some more. The story doesn’t finish, which ought to annoy me. But it does have a reasonable sense of completeness and doesn’t cheat the reader. Gabe’s Temporal Lobe Epilepsy really does become integral to the story. And the mythology delights, with just enough hints of the familiar to heighten a powerful sense of mystery.
The real-world parts of this story bring Gabe to a new home, school and town. The background to his illness is left to be discovered as the story continues rather than forced down the reader’s throat, and his parents’ and brother’s different responses to his TLE are pleasingly plausible, with just enough space for change. School is a challenge, especially when the bullies attack Gabe’s difference, and there are some truly scary, sadly believable scenes. I really admire the author’s ability to create realistic atmosphere and threat without using offensive words, though very occasional minor slips frustrated me.
Meanwhile another world lies just beyond the edge of mystery. There’s a nice interplay between duty and trust, following your calling and doing as you must. The modern world ignores the past and nature at its peril, and Into the Mist feeds that peril very nicely into a closely tied fantasy world. Witches, sacrifice, swords and sorcery combine with nice humor, great dialog, wonderful characters and real-world problems to create a novel that, despite its length, comes too quickly to its end.
Uneven in places, but quickly absorbing, well-imagined and well-told, I really enjoyed this tale.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.