Somehow, I have discovered I missed posting this book review here. Major shame on me! So, I’m rectifying that mistake now.
An Ogre’s Tale
Here’s the pesky disclaimer – Free book for honest review deal. You know how that goes. On to the review.
When I got An Ogre’s Tale by Lilian Oake, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect as this is the first piece by Oake I’ve had a chance to read—my own fault and no one else’s. This is the story of Lyla, a girl living with her parents in a cottage in the woods. Elves are real, but rarely does anyone meet them. Lyla chafes some at her role her mother tries to keep her in. Over time, though, things start to change with her mother until her mother disappears. Thus begins Lyla’s introduction to some adult lessons that challenge even adults.
Oake clearly has a talent for writing to middle school/high school ages. The story and the language is complex enough to be interesting and engaging while not crossing the line into the adult realm. I loved the simplicity of the story even as it remained developed and layered. I think Oake did a wonderful job of maintaining that balancing act.
Another thing I liked as how well Oake imagined her world in this story. Even though it is a short story, she had a well-developed world. The magic system seemed believable and consistent. The inhabitants have distinct roles and are consistently defined. The rules and customs make sense. Best of all, each of these parts fit well into the whole to create a world with depth and sincerity.
Finally, I feel Oake did a nice job with her character development in this story. Lyla is immediately relatable. Her character arc takes her on a journey through fear and into a whole new, more adult, world. Soel has a wonderful otherworldly feel, yet still holds enough that readers can connect to anyways. Even Lyla’s parents hold a dimensionality I loved.
There were a few points in this story where I felt rushed, which was a bit frustrating. For example, Lyla’s relationship and willingness to go with Soel felt like it could have been developed more before the journey he takes her on at the end. Overall, this wasn’t a significant issue, just more of an “I wish there was more here” at times.
The other thing that caught me up a couple times was some formatting and typo issues. Overall, they weren’t to a point where I struggled to finish the story. It was just enough at times to throw me out of the story a little. There wasn’t enough to completely take me out of it, so this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.
I really enjoyed this story. It is a wonderful middle/high school targeted story that weaves a theme of daring, breaking norms, love, loss, and growth. I absolutely would recommend reading this book. Solid 4 stars for sure.