Review of ~ Will Ottley – Mountain Garden


“When darkness falls the White Stag will gather the forces of light”

I had this book delivered to my house yesterday and ever since I have opened the package it has taken my breath away. The book itself, the artwork and the story. It is nice to get the vibe an author really… like REALLY cares about the work they are putting their name behind.

We find ourselves in a forest when Buckan, a brave young stag is preparing for an upcoming battle for his race against the opposing and intense forces of the wolves. To make things worse, former allies the lions have changed sides and are foes for the imminent battle. It is a quite simple narrative that follows young Buckan from the battlefield to find the mythical mountain garden with the hope that what he finds on the journey and at his destination can aid his brothers. It highlights his colourful adventures on the way. The story is beautifully written. It is amazingly poetic and Mr. Ottley flaunts lots of imaginative and picturesque similes and metaphors for our benefit. I liked this one in particular. “(He moved) like an eagle diving through a cloud”. Some of the language used is quite complex so don’t think this is a book merely written for children. I thought that this would be the perfect book for a parent to read to a son or daughter so that both parties would enjoy thoroughly.

I am not 100% sure what the message is that the author is trying to portray. That is not a bad thing. The amazing thing about art is that it is our views on the subject that make it special. I believed it was a very human tale about brotherhood, friendship and overcoming difficulties that are presented by real life. These struggles are presented in this book to young Buckan as animals he meets on his way who try and hinder his progression. We all have obstacles in life and how we get through them makes us stronger for future engagements. Buckan encounters a bat, a crocodile, a serpent among others. What I liked about this was that the author refers to them as bat, crocodile, salmon instead of using A. I took this to mean that these characters were representing a theme or an idea – quite often opposing our young hero.

The novel features stunning artwork by Chester, the UK-born Chloe Holt. I recommend checking out her work. She tours quite often around the UK and I might visit one of her exhibitions soon.

To finish the book the credits state that Will Ottley wrote this book as it was the book that he personally always wanted to read. I can’t wait to see what he decides he wants to read next and to read the resulting novel which I guarantee will be just as picturesque and enchanting.

Highly recommended. James x

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