Into This River I Drownby TJ Klune
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Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he’s buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie’s convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water.
But Roseland is no ordinary place.
With ever more frequent dreams of his father’s death and waking visions of feathers on the river’s surface, Benji finds his definition of reality bending. He thinks himself haunted; by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. Not until a man falls from the sky, leaving the burning imprint of wings on the ground, does Benji begin to understand that the world is more mysterious than he ever imagined—and more dangerous. As uncontrollable forces descend on Roseland, they reveal long-hidden truths about friends, family, and the stranger Calliel—a man Benji can no longer live without.
- Dreamspinner Press
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- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
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- 2 MB
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Wow. Just...wow. I loved this book so much that I almost don’t know where to start. Usually, when I write a book review, I focus on plot and character, but the striking thing about Into This River I Drown is the writing itself. I read one of TJ Klune’s other books a while back, and I liked it well enough, but it didn’t take my breath away this one did. The language is almost poetic. The words curl their way into a reader’s heart and wring out every emotion until you are left completely spent. Klune’s use of repetition is interesting. Normally, I find that annoying, but somehow here it works. Symbolism and imagery are heavy in the book, but I’m not going to get into that or this review will end up long enough to bust into chapters. Let’s just say, as an author myself, I am in complete literary awe. As for the characters... Benji was well-developed and interesting. He had an almost hero-worship relationship with his father, Big Eddie, and has never been able to move on after his death. Benji remembers his father as an almost mythically perfect being, almost like a very young child feels about their parents before they are old enough to see their flaws. The side characters perpetuate Benji’s exalted opinions by constantly talking about how perfect Big Eddie was. At the time of this story, Big Eddie has been dead for five years, so I assume Benji had a more realistic opinion of his dad back when he was alive. And while this hero-worship thing gets to be a little much after a while, it really clues the reader in to Benji’s fragile emotional stability. I don’t want to say too much about Calliel, because I don’t want to give anything away, but I found him quirky and endearing. I understood why he and Benji felt so much for each other, but even at the end of the book, I feel like I only know him about 95%. There is still the hint of mystery about him. Not that I think there will be a sequel, this appears to be a standalone novel, but this mystery left me still thinking about the book after I finished reading. That’s a good thing. The book is filled with wonderful supporting characters who often defy stereotypes. Benji’s Aunt Nina was the perfect mix of loving and spooky. She has a mild form of Downs, so people may write her up, but she sees the world like a prophetess, wise and mystical. Abraham Dufree is a senior citizen and Benji’s only friend. Like Nina, people may dismiss an elderly man, but Abraham turns out to be tough as nails. The older woman who runs the local diner carries a shotgun and isn’t afraid to use it. The plot of the story does have a few pacing issues, but it never gets too bogged down. It basically revolves around Benji trying to unravel who killed Big Eddie, but there are several sub-plots to layer on interest. There are “bad guys” who are obvious bad guys, but then there is a twist to the mystery at the end to take a reader by surprise. Overall, I give Into This River I Drown.... Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks Character Development - 5 bookmarks Mystery - 4 1/2 bookmarks Paranormal Elements - 4 1/2 bookmarks Love Story - 5 bookmarks Literary Quality - 5 bookmarks Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Logan Lerman (Benji), Chris Hemsworth (Calliel), Abraham (Michael Fairman)
I'm completely in love with this book. I've recommended it to 100's of people and it has skyrocketed into my Top Ten of all time to join the ranks of Tolkien, Ayn Rand and Kenneth Grahame. The language is lyrical, the characters - oh those characters - they get under your skin, bite down hard, and just won't let go. I first read it as a NookBook and couldn't put it down. As soon as I finished it I started re-reading it again. Then I purchased the paper copy and if it ever comes out in an audio version, I'll get that too. I've been matching the author's play list with the chapters and reading it for a third time. I'll be reading this one often for years to come just to revisit the characters and this immense and beautifully painted canvas that TJ Klune has provided. Benjie is a character drowning in self-pity and living in a go-nowhere daily existence that stopped moving forward when his father died. How he is pulled out of his destructive spiral and opens his eyes to love and a future life in which he and his love meet each day with joy and hope is a story of great courage and an overwhelming love that shakes his foundations. This is a book well worth reading. This is a story well worth thinking about. This is a love story unlike any you will have read before and this book deserves to be talked about for years and years to come. READ THIS BOOK. IF YOU ALREADY READ IT THEN READ IT AGAIN.
Epic, beautiful, poignant, inspiring. Into This River I Drown was a highly emotional read. I needed to put it down at times just to process. Yet, every moment away i longed to see, to know how it would all end for Benjamin Green, for Calliel, for Roseland. Worth every word.