More than Mystical!
Arrival!! Arrival!! Yes, I have arrived! Joyous day!
Where have I been since - last December? What? Has it really been that long! Well, I suppose traveling the metaverse between space-time can do that.
Speaking of space-time however, I have brought with me from my travels, a book! Yes, a book about many travels. Are you interested? No need to answer, I already know you are! So let's sit down, and get on with our mystical journey!
In The Mystic Quest by Nancy Harvey, siblings William and Alex have been inseparable since they were young, and they expect to be no different on their family trip to Grand Teton National Park. But when a freak accident causes them to uncover a magical secret, their lives will take a change only they and their family can handle.
William and Alex find themselves plunged into a world where their wildest dreams can come true; one populated with angels, warriors, mystics, and all kinds of fantasy creatures. Their goal? To find and solve the Prophecy of Violet Flame, an ancient puzzle with the keys of magical talismans.
Will Alex and William, along with their new allies, be able to solve the mystery, or will the dark forces chasing them get to it first?
My Thoughts The Mystic Quest seems like a book you'd find in a mysterious old bookstore in a little country town, tucked into a secret shelf where no ordinary person could reach. But you're not ordinary. And that's exactly why you found this book.
However, this is all based off assumptions on the book's fancy-looking cover. And you know what you say about judging covers. Just like the bookstore you found this book in, the contents of this book is old - and thus dated.
Well, what could I mean? Within the first chapters of this book, a Native American character is introduced; "White Feather". White Feather is a man who lives alone in a underground cave, and possesses unexplainable powers. He also talks about "reconnecting with Mother Earth" quite a lot. As far as I know, he only appears here. If you're as educated in Native stereotyping as I try to be, you'll understand this isn't the greatest representation of a native character.
Native people have traditions that differ a lot from ours, but for years, these traditions have been whitewashed into an interpretation of "magic" or that Native people have a greater, more fantastical connection with the Earth. Think Disney's Pocahontas with Grandmother Willow, something that has been criticized for the same thing.
Not to mention, "White Feather" is a pretty whitewashed Native name too. For ages, white authors writing Native characters have discarded the naming traditions of the different tribes, instead just choosing two "nature-y" words and calling it done. Then you get characters with names like "Tree Fart."
There is also a part in the book where the main characters go to Africa, and befriend some of the African tribes. Now, I know practically nothing about the people in Africa, so I can't determine whether their representation there is accurate or not. However, I was impressed with the author's understanding of African dishes and deities, but they too may be inaccurate.
All of what I am saying is based on the assumption the author is white, or at least non-Native, and from my research I believe she is. However, I hold no hate against them. While I do wish that the author had checked out a book at the library, or did a Google search on the subject, I do understand that Native history and culture is criminally undertaught, so the author may have known none of this prior. However, because of this, Native and Black readers may be upset by their representation in Mystic Quest.
Offensive content does not always come from a place of hate, so I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and say she did not intend to make anyone upset. I just wish it had never been a problem in the first place.
My only other thought is on the back of the book it says that Alex has a romantic subplot. I don't really see that in this book, but I don't know if it's because I didn't pay attention enough, or if it is really that weak. I remember there being a few characters that flirted with her, but I can't even remember their names or if they were reoccurring. Just something that caught my mind. Weird it only happened to the female character.
Something I really liked was Alex and William's relationship. As main characters they have to have a lasting impression, and while they fail on that by themselves, they seem to stand out more when they're interacting with each other. That's refreshing.
The Mystic Quest is wild romp between time and space; a clean rendition of an oversaturated genre. While there are many things that could be improved or removed, it definitely is an enjoyable read, and the cover is flashy enough to catch the YA reader's eye.
Hopefully I won't disappear into the space-time continuum again, in fact - I know I won't! (at least for another month). I've found a really great book I'm excited to talk about that I got at - get this - Value Village! Stay tuned for that!