Brambleheart: A Story about Finding Treasure and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship
By Henry Cole
Published February 9, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
The most important moment in Twig's hillside community is the Naming Ceremony. Unfortunately, Twig is afraid he won't receive a name - he hasn't found anything he's very good at. When he discovers a surprise interloper near the Hill, things begin to change for Twig. Will his secret turn his life around? Or is he putting everyone in danger?
Well, I keep saying I don't read a lot of animal fantasy and yet, I keep finding myself writing that in my reviews. So, I guess, maybe I read more of it than I think. I read Cole's last novel, A Nest for Celeste, and enjoyed it quite a bit, so when I saw this new title, I expected something along the same lines.
Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to the charm of that earlier title for me. I realize that any book that involves talking animals is, by definition, a fantasy - but I still wasn't expecting the appearance of a dragon. This element took me out of the story quite a bit. I guess I like my dragons in their own world or more seamlessly integrated into ours. The dragon here just felt out of place.
Additionally, I didn't get very invested in the story. None of the characters really struck me and I didn't care much about what happened to them. The antagonist was a little too jerky and Twig was a little too naive. The inevitable actions of the community regarding the dragon was completely unsurprising as well, though maybe it wouldn't be to a young reader.
Finally, the ending is extremely abrupt - literally, in the middle of the action. It makes a sequel seem inevitable but it's also incredibly jarring.
All in all, not my favorite read. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.