Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp by Robert W Sweeting

May 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm (Reviews) (, , , )

How would you react if your entire world was torn apart and the only friends that you can find are vermin set on die-hard quests of seeming nonsense? Wait, let me explain; in Kekaju and the Hidden Swamp by Robert W Sweeting we start by looking at the life of Zach Bonroy. He lives a normal enough life with his father in New Orleans.Yes his mother isn’t around (she ran off years ago for whatever reason), but he lives an ordinary life as a non-outstanding person. When his father is suddenly pushed to an unexpected death under a passing streetcar it is the last thing he could have expected!  Attempting to chase down the little girl that pushed his dad for her explanation is unsuccessful.

Here Zach finds that reality starts to waver. The evil little girl had a white dress, and now the boy starts to run into noticeable whiteness  everywhere. There are also several unexplained happenings, vanishings, disembodied voices, mysteriously appearing purple globes of light; It’s like the whole world has started to unravel. When Zachary tries to tell his great-aunt Astoria (who has arrived to take in the hapless orphan) what is going on, she disbelieves him. Surely the questionable happenings are nothing more than the wild imaginings of a grief stricken little boy!

Great-aunt Astoria who feels obligated to care for Zachary is a rather unlikable character. Had Sweeting focused more on her peculiarities that only fed Zach’s need to get away from her and find his mother, this may have been an interesting tale. Instead, we seem to be sucked even more into the boy’s imagination. Zach suddenly finds himself able to understand animal talk, and so makes friends with the nutria Kekaju. The entire direction of the story stops being about Zach and his life, and it picks up upon a great fight between the nutrias and the crocodiles for control of the magical hidden swamp.

Perhaps I missed something here, I can only say the new story is fun. It is even populated with a good number of Zachary’s magical relatives who do keep the action quite entertaining. Cheaply, the fighting could get to any level of intensity because of a powerful object known as the “gris gris” stone. Because this rock could perform virtual miracles, no action by anyone could effectively do anything. I think there were maybe 2 people in the swamp fight who weren’t actually dead at some point during the fight. Not only that, but this artifact was shattered so that everyone seems to have a piece of it.

The story at the beginning is good and the story at the end is enjoyable. It’s just the whole thing seems kinda disjointed. Going back to reread the start; I can now see that the white and purple colors that were focused on play their own roles throughout. Maybe something was intentionally left out for the ending says to be continued, but I’m not left with any confidence that a continuation will leave me less disappointed.

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