Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review of #1 Song of the River by Sue Harrison

Name of Book: Song of the River

Author: Sue Harrison

ISBN: 0-380-72603-3

Publisher: Avon fiction

Part of a Series: Storyteller trilogy; cry of the wind, call down the stars sequels

Type of book: mainland Alaska, Native Americans, prehistoric novel, 6480 BCE, 6460-6459 BCE, competition, enemies, revenge, healing, war, mystery

Year it was published: 1997


Eighty centuries before our time -- in the frozen interior of a place that would someday be called Alaska -- a clubfooted babe was left in the snow to die...until he was rescued by a young woman ravaged by her enemies and sworn to vengeance.

Twenty years later, the child, called Chakliux, has grown to manhood and occupies an honored place as his tribe's treasured storyteller, while his adoptive mother K'os has grown cunning and cold. But in the neighboring village of the Near River People -- where he has been sent to make peace by wedding the shaman's daughter -- a shocking double murder occurs that sets Chakliux on a remarkable journey. Driven by the ancient songs of sea and sky, earth and animals, the storyteller traverses a harsh, unknown, yet enthralling landscape in search of the strange truth about the offenses for which his people have suffered...and about the hateful, ambitious woman who raised him, who may be his most dangerous enemy of all.


The characters are three dimensional and are very engaging. There are multiple characters, in particular Chakliux and his adopted mother K'os who's a very complex yet powerful and influential woman, bent on getting revenge. There is also Yaa, a young girl who became an adopted mother to Ghaden and Aquamdax who discovered her own power of storytelling and tries to overcome her own obstacles as being seen as someone who sleeps with every male tribe member. I enjoyed the budding romance between her and Chakliux and also enjoyed hanging out with other characters and learning about their motivations, such as Sok's desire to marry Snows-in-her-hair.


Life is full of surprises and expect the unexpected.


The book is in third person narrative from multiple characters' points of views. The characters are well rounded, the story is very gripping and something that everyone can enjoy. It seems as if this novel has something for everyone; war for those seeking war, the conflict between good and evil, the slow romance between Chakliux and Aquamdax, and so forth. I didn't get bored reading the novel because its varied between the characters and so forth.

Author Information:

(from sueharrison.com)
Sue Harrison is the author of six critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling novels. Mother Earth Father Sky, My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind make up The Ivory Carver Trilogy, an epic adventure set in prehistoric Alaska. Song of the River, Cry of the Wind and Call Down the Stars comprise The Storyteller Trilogy. Sue’s young adult book, SISU, was released by Thunder Bay Press .

Sue Harrison was born in Lansing, Michigan. The first of five children, she was raised in the town of Pickford in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where she lives with her husband, a retired high school principal. They are blessed with a daughter and a son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

A graduate of Pickford High School, Harrison graduated summa cum laude from Lake Superior State University with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She was named Lake Superior State University’s Distinguished Alumna in 1992, and served eight years on the university’s Board of Regents.

Harrison’s first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, was published in 1990 by Doubleday (hardcover) and Avon (paperback). It was nominated in the states of Michigan and Washington for the Reader’s Choice Award among high school students, and was one of ten books chosen for “Battle of the Books,” a statewide student reading competition in Alaska. The novel as had success in both the adult and young adult markets, and was a national bestseller. It was selected by the American Library Association as one of 1991′s Best Books for Young Adults.

Harrison’s second novel, My Sister the Moon, (Doubleday/Avon 1992) has also received recognition by reading and school groups throughout the United States and was a Baker and Taylor top ten in library sales. Both Mother Earth Father Sky and My Sister the Moon were Main Selections of the Literary Guild Book Club and alternate selections of the Doubleday Book Club. Brother Wind, Harrison’s third novel was released in hardcover by William Morrow, October 1994, and in 1995 as an Avon paperback. The novel was chosen as an alternate selection by both the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Song of the River and Cry of the Wind were both published by Avon Hardcover/Avon paperback, a division of Hearst Books. The third book of The Storyteller Trilogy, Call down the stars was published by Morrow/Avon in 2001 and 2002. It was featured alternate of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs.

Harrison’s books have also been published in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Japan, France, Finland, and South America.

Harrison is represented by Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary. She is currently writing women’s contempory fiction for the inspirational market.


Since reading of Brother Wind, Song of the River is much improved and gripping, also the characters feel human. I loved reading the novel and learning about the customs of Native Americans so many years ago, also how they lived. If you love prehistoric fiction, I would highly recommend this novel, even if you don't. There's mindset and psychology in there, as well as the effects of war and competition. The mainland Native Americans are also in competition and do a lot of things differently when comparing them to the sea-faring North Native Americans.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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