Title: Ni'il, the Awakening
Author: James Boyle
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge
First Sentence: The banks of a small creek in Oregon's Coast Range Mountains."
Summary (From back of book):
When several people are brutally killed in the town of Placerton, on the isolated Oregon coast, most locals think a rogue bear or cougar is roaming the forested hills near town. Police Chief Dan Connor is not so sure. He has witnessed some very strange things lately, such as disembodied voices, muttering a strange foreign language and an old Indian man who seems to be near every crime scene, but disappears before he can be questioned.
Dan's investigation takes him to the local Sihketunnai Indians and their legend of the Ni'il, magical shamans charged with maintaining the balance between humans and the natural world. According to the elders, one of the Ni'il is responsible for the murders and intends to kill everyone in the community. It is Dan's job to stop it.
It sounded unbelievable, but was the only explanation that fit the facts.
As a violent Pacific storm crashes ashore, cutting off power and washing out roads -- cutting the town off from the outside world -- Dan finds himself entering a strange world of myth and magic that was not covered in his police training. He must use all his wits and new-found powers to save himself and his community from the Ni'il.
My Two Cents:
This was a really easy read. I read it in two sittings, but it could've been finished in just one.
The story was intriguing. I didn't find myself sucked totally in, per se, but I did want to find out what would happen. I liked that there was enough mystery surrounding the murders that most people could attribute them to wild animals, at least at first, but that those who looked closely enough and who asked enough questions saw that there was something more going on. The main problem, though, is that the summary from the back of the book pretty much tells me a lot of what I find out later in the book. I wish people wouldn't do that!
The characters were likable enough, but I didn't really feel intensely connected to any of them. The main character, Dan, is pretty much your typical police chief -- He puts the good of his town and the people in it before his own well-being, often running around with a severely injured shoulder just to check on things. It was hard to tell how old Dan was supposed to be. Sometimes I got the impression that he was in his 30s, but other times he felt as if he was in his 40s. Not really a significant detail, but something I wondered about while reading the book.
Boyle's writing is easy-to-read and accessible. He does a good job with giving detail and painting a scene. Sometimes, in the case of describing crime scenes, a little too much detail for my taste. There were several places, though, that could have benefited from an editor. The tenses of verbs changed from time to time, and there were a lot of extra commas, which got a little distracting.
This book was an enjoyable, easy read. Boyle released the second book in this planned trilogy, Ni'il: The War Within, in late 2008. I'd be interested in reading it to see what happens because Boyle left us hanging at the end.
I've found myself with an extra copy of this book (I'm still not quite sure how that happened...), so I'm offering it to one of you, my dear readers.
Just leave a comment with your e-mail address by 8 p.m. CST Friday, August 6, and this book can be yours!
This contest is even open internationally, since I've got some lovely readers across the globe!