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J. R. Rada is the author of seven novels, a non-fiction book and a non-fiction collection. These include the historical novels Canawlers, October Mourning, Between Rail and River and The Rain Man. His other novels are Logan’s Fire, Beast and My Little Angel. His non-fiction books are Battlefield Angels: The Daughters of Charity Work as Civil War Nurses and Looking Back: True Stories of Mountain Maryland.
He lives in Gettysburg, Pa., where he works as a freelance writer. Jim has received numerous awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, Associated Press, Maryland State Teachers Association and Community Newspapers Holdings, Inc. for his newspaper writing.
If you would like to be kept up to date on new books being published by J. R. Rada or ask him questions, he can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see J. R. Rada's other books or to order copies on-line, go to jamesrada.com.
on Oct. 12, 2012 :
As a writer who has published stories using American Indians in a fantasy setting, this book sounded interesting to me. But as I started to read it, I had to wonder how much research the author had done. For one thing, the Ancient Puebloans would never have called themselves Anasazi. "Anasazi" is a much later Navajo word meaning (perhaps) "Ancient Enemies." Hardly the sort of thing a people would call themselves! Several other details jumped out at me. For one, a young girl runs away because her parents were going to burn her kachina doll, which was treated in the text just like a modern American girl's toy. Two minutes with Wikipedia would have yielded this information: "According to the Hopi, Kachina dolls are objects meant to be treasured and studied, and are not to be considered idols of worship or children's toys." In another part of the story, there are several pregnant women in labor lying on tables. Most cultures who have not been "blessed" with modern medicine do NOT have their women lie down to deliver babies. They stand, sit, or squat, often aided with birthing stools of some sort. Lying down for delivery was instituted mostly by modern doctors for the convenience of the doctor, not the woman delivering the baby.
I other beefs with the details. In one place, the girl who escapes with the main character was thought to be about 10 years old. At that point, they were in the dark. When the protagonist (who is a teenaged boy himself) later looks at her, she is described, "Though her age made her a girl, the shape of her body said she was a woman." So, is she ten years old? Or an older girl starting to gain a figure? It would be nice to know (but doesn't really matter, as she disappears from the narrative and is never important).
As this is a fantasy novel, I can almost believe the emasculation of the "Anasazi" men as they fall prey to the Bow Clan. But cutting off their "male parts" and sticking a burning torch between their legs to cauterize the wound leaves a problem. How does the poor man urinate after that? It sounds like they live fairly long lives after this operation; I would have liked to know that some sort of "magic" took care of this operation.
In a fantasy world, description is key to building the ambience of the story. In places, the description in this novel was so lacking that I was completely confused as to what was happening. Description was especially lacking in the fight scene toward the end of the book.
The lack of proofreading/copy editing was very distracting in places, with missing words, poorly-placed punctuation, and misused words.
The story ended so abruptly, and with so little true sense of a climax, that I thought the other story that came after it ("White Indian") was the next section of this novel. Then when "White Indian" ended without any real climax either, I thought it was a sneak preview for the next novel. Now I see that they are both prequels to "Kachina," but unfortunately with the problems I have found in these two stories, I have little wish to read the novel they are promoting. I would suggest, that if an author wishes to use a free book or story to get someone to read another novel, they should use even MORE care with the free story, as this will be the work that sells the next novel.
(review of free book)