Rowan doesn't believe he has a brave heart. But when the river that supports his village of Rin runs dry, he must join a dangerous journey to its source in the forbidden Mountain. To save Rin, Rowan and his companions must conquer not only the Mountain's many tricks, but also the fierce dragon that lives at its peak.This short book is marketed to readers ages 8 and up. I should have been reading other books, but I recently read a review of this book and decided that I was going to pause in all that I should be doing to see if this was a series that interested me. It is very much a series for the young at heart, and I think I would be interested to see what happens in the later books.
This book takes place in a land called Rin. It is set in an age that is before the time that we are experiencing on earth, it is a very simplistic lifestyle and the citizens are all tradespeople who are very much tied to the land. When the villages river runs dry, though, the people are left faced with a dangerous situation. The water is the only source of refreshment for the bukshah, well water not being sweet enough for them. If the village people do not get to the root of the problem, the bukshah (which I picture as cows-like) will die and take a main resource away from the village leading to its eventual demise.
Once the village people are aware that there is a problem, they band together to formulate a plan that leads to the eventual decision that they are going to have to climb the Mountain and figure out what has stopped the water from flowing. Six brave souls volunteer for a mission that has never successfully been completed before: Strong Jonn, who is in love with Rowan's mother; Marlie, the weaver; Allun, the outsider that has something to prove; Bronden, the practical; and Van and Ellis, the inseparable twins. They are all brave souls, the bravest in the whole village, but a visit to Sheba, the towns oldest resident sets the tale on a different path.
The story is centred around Rowan. He is quiet, withdrawn, and fearful, but also the keeper of the bukshah. This is his story because Sheba chooses for this to be his tale. She teases the village folk that come to visit her, offering only a rhymn as their clue to the success of this mission:
Seven hearts the journey make.Rowan, a visitor to Sheba's house, fears this rhymn. He has no way of knowing what lies in store for him and just how things will play out for him. He is ever fearful and refuses to believe that he can be brave, but he will be tested, as all the members will be, and the reader will get the chance to see whether this mission is successful or not. Oh, and there might even be a dragon for readers to meet.
Seven ways the hearts will break.
Bravest heart will carry on
When sleep is death, and hope is gone.
Look in the fiery jaws of fear
And see the answer white and clear,
Then throw away all thoughts of home,
For only then your quest is done.
My favourite thing about this book was that it is about a town where gender does not seem to matter. The women are just as strong and willing as the men, with three of the seven adventurers being women. I am always fond of novels that see women as more than weak and defenseless. As for downfalls, it is not the best book I have ever read, but it is a good start to a series that is focused towards younger children. It will teach them to root for the underdog.
Harper Collins also believes that this would be a book for Ron of Harry Potter fame. To see why, click here to be taken to the post they have provided.