Saturday 3 June 2017

Tarin of the Mammoths: The Exile

Tarin of the Mammoths: The Exile (Book 1) by Jo Sandhu (Puffin Books) PB RRP $16.99  ISBN 9780143309376

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Jo Sandhu has triumphed with her debut book, Tarin of the Mammoths: The Exile, the first novel in an upcoming series. Set during the Stone Age, this is a gripping fictional tale of adventure.

We are introduced to the main character Tarin in the prologue, where he declares his desire to hunt mammoth, bison and reindeer, just like those he admires. He longs to tell stories of hunting and bravery, but instead he describes his lack of strength, his leg that twists when he runs and the disheartening names he is called by his Mammoth Clan.

When an unfortunate accident sees a hunt go wrong, and Tarin’s clan facing starvation during the long dark winter, he is outcast by those he loves. ‘I ruined the mammoth hunt. I have brought shame to my family, and that will never leave me...’ With a heavy heart and little sense of belonging, Tarin decides to escape the pity and contempt from others and sets out alone on a quest to save the Mammoth Clan.

Tarin has overcome many obstacles in his life just to be alive, but this mission is by far his greatest challenge. He faces a long and treacherous journey ‘across the frozen tundar, across many rivers, through forests and over mountains…’ Now, more than ever, he must believe in himself and ignore the naysayers, as there are plenty more moments to test him! During his trek Tarin meets Kaija and Luuka who have also fled their home and face an uncertain journey of their own. But does this potential friendship help or hinder Tarin’s quest?

This is an engaging story, told in the third person, with themes of family, friendship, strength, persistence, resilience and belief. This middle fiction novel would suit children aged 10+ and is sure to appeal to those with a sense of adventure. No doubt they’ll soon be looking forward to the release of Book 2!

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