Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Seven Misterious Gifts by John Mellor

The Seven Misterious Gifts

30813939A reject rock star and a lonely white dolphin, together with "some of the most bizarre and memorable characters that have ever appeared in a book", take a young boy on a wild, electrifying ride through seven extraordinary, unimaginable tales. Buried deep within the heart of each lies a precious gift for the Earth, and the young boy must find them. And also the truth of himself. And perhaps the mystery of us...

The boy clings precariously to "a fine line between profound and insane" as "these quite incredible characters and events begin to strike the reader as insanity on the part of the author. However, if insanity it is, this is the type that gives birth to great achievements and in examining so many themes such as society, religion and environment, this book can be considered a great achievement."

My Take:
A young boy getting ready to be sent to Earth must first read seven books, which each contain a gift to be given to Mankind. From a reject rock star and his eclectic band, to a lonely bosun shipwrecked alone on a desert island, to a lonely white dolphin with a desire to rescue lost ships, the boy must read a scattered disconnected collection of stories and glean the heart of them, before he will be allowed to come to Earth.

Overseeing the boy and the stories is a mysterious Angel with plans of her own. She guides the boy in his discoveries, and prepares him for the journey he must take. But what could he hope to accomplish in a world gone mad, in the death grip of an insane controlling Snow Queen and her lockstep minions?

The outer story of the Angel and boy tie together an eclectic collection of fascinating violent stories of the Snow Queen's domain in this wild fantasy ride that teeters between insanity and wisdom.


Drug Content:
PG - There is a small amount of drinking and drug use hinted at in some of the stories in this collection. The queen and her entourage seem to know how to party.

PG-13 - A person is struck in the throat with a crossbow bolt. A song destroys a palace and everyone in it. A vine strangles a person to death and destroys an entire kingdom. There are hints of torture, but none of it comes onscreen. Many people are exiled into a wasteland with vicious marauding beasts.

PG - There's a bit of cussing in this book. Several of the stories depict coarse people with coarse language, but the book doesn't seem to wander past the D-word.

Adult Content:
PG - The princess has a party which seems to be poised to devolve into an orgy, though none of that is more than hinted at. A song for the princess is fairly revealing in its discussion of her immoral descent.

Christian content:
I'm not exactly sure where to place this book. It appears allegorical on the level of Narnia, but the main characters are a bit hard to reconcile with who they seem to be intended to represent. Some scripture is quoted, but reincarnation is hinted at, and a 'cycle' of returning to earth until a lesson is learned, smacks of karma and Hinduism. There are some definite Christian references, but they are intermixed with other religious concepts that make it unclear where the path is. Basically the seven gifts are intended to put Mankind back on the path to enlightenment.

Final analysis:
Although the author intended to draw the reader into the characters depicted in the stories, and into the personalities of the boy and the Angel, there just wasn't enough time and dimension to help me relate to any of them. The Snow Queen was rather one-dimensional, a classic villain with only the characteristics of arrogance and contempt. The boy and the Angel had the most coverage, yet there didn't seem much in the way of conflict or emotion in their journey together. The best character in the line of characters is a tossup between the flamboyant musician Custer and the aged gardener George.

The author seemed driven to send home a point, and the story was exceptionally good on that front, but mixed with solid wisdom and encouragement are differing worldviews a bit at odds with each other. Coupled with rushed world building, character development, and pacing, the story placed with a solid Four Stars.

About the Author:
John MellorI was born and brought up in Liverpool, UK just after The War and went straight from school to sea as a young officer in the Royal Navy. After five years I resigned and worked as a professional yacht skipper for quite a few years before settling to full time writing. I have lived in and renovated a number of boats and houses in various places, and now share a delightful house and 10 acres of weeds near Nelson, New Zealand with wife, son, daughter and a motley collection of animals and boats.

Having had a dozen yachting books professionally published I am now striking out into publishing my own novels. The first is an unusual fairy tale called The Seven Gifts, which has been well received so far.

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