Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Review: Into Misty Ruse by H.A. Growler


by H.A. Growler
Release Date: September 1st, 2023
2023 H.A. Growler LLC
Kindle Edition; 370 Pages
ISBN: 979-8988648604
Genre: Fiction / Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from author
5 / 5 Stars
It has been thirty-seven years since the Big Boom blasted magic into the world of Harmonyca and nearly destroyed it. And it’s been almost two years since Zyk’s dad disappeared, for reasons unknown. The powerful institution of FAHLT says that Magic Is an Affliction and has strictly forbidden any association with magic or magical creatures. But twelve-year-old Zyk’s most fervent desire is to learn more about magical TOMBs (Treacherous Obstructive and Malignant Botanicals). Just when his dream feels completely out of reach, events start befalling Zyk, one after another. Now he’s stuck in a magical settlement, in hiding from FAHLT knights. Is magic truly an affliction? Are magical creatures really evil? If so, why are they helping him? And will he ever be able to cure the curse he’s been hit with and go back home to his mum?
My Thoughts
Into Misty Ruse is the first book in The Harmonycan Chronicles and I thought this book was fun and very creatively written. Even though it was aimed at a much younger audience, I was immediately engaged by Zyk's story as well as the story building.  To be honest, I had a hard time putting this down and pretty much read it in one sitting.  I
Zyk is a great main character and I loved following him on his journey as he becomes stuck in a magical settlement due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Making the best of a difficult situation, he is treated with kindness by those who find him as he learns to navigate a world very different from his own.  The secondary characters are as engaging as Zyk and I developed a huge fondness for Pitch and Eva as well as all of the others we meet. 

There were a lot of important themes running through this book, ones that I think would make great discussion topics in a classroom or with your own child, such as loneliness, loss, grief, friendship, acceptance, racism, judgment, pre-conceived notions, growth, separation, and consequences to one's behaviour.  There is a huge emphasis on different does not mean something to be destroyed, but that co-existence is necessary for everyone to thrive.  With that in mind, the way Zyk was treated as a newcomer to the society was used as a way to develop these themes, and I enjoyed all of the situations in which he found himself, from dealing with dangerous plants to dealing with difficult students and adults.  Everything was done with compassion and care.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed was the discussion around plant life as Zyk was very interested in plants, especially magical ones.  He has a huge affinity for them and this is one of the ways his magic first manifested without him realizing what had happened. I thoroughly enjoyed his predicaments when he got entangled in situations where he assumed plants that looked fine turned out to be extremely dangerous. The creative names given to these plants and the scenes involving them kept me riveted to the page, sometimes laughing out loud. I thought the whole magical system was quite whimsical and creative.  Personally, as a kid, I would have loved to visit this place.

Into Misty Ruse was a delight to read, and I loved the magic, the story, and the characters.  I was captivated by the world-building and enjoyed the descriptive storytelling. The characters were well-drawn out, each with their own unique personalities, and thought the mystery was perfect for a book for this age group.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, and I am definitely looking forward to the second book when it is released.



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