Orca Book Pubishers (2007)
Reviewed by Avery Largent (age 9) for Reader Views (4/08)
“Orphan Ahwak” is an enjoyable adventure story about a young girl named Aneze. When all the men in her hometown are killed by warriors, and the women are all kidnapped, Aneze runs away and meets a kind old man who begins teaching her how to be a hunter like her father had been. Once she learns the skills necessary for a hunter, she goes off on her own and finds many exciting adventures.
Author Raquel Rivera writes with such good description of the characters that you can really relate to them. Even though the plot is exciting, the characters are another reason that keeps the reader turning the pages. My favorite character is Aneze because she is so bold, kind, and would make a very trustworthy friend. Aneze shows she is very brave and has the heart of a hero even if she has just suffered so much, and during the whole book she shows no signs of losing her head or mourning forevermore in her losses. Aneze holds her responsibility, however hard it is and keeps moving forward to stay alive.
The old man Aneze first finds home with is a very good character, too; he made a great friend for her the beginning and he builds back Aneze’s strength. Aneze’s friend Ketch and Ketch’s family provide the family and home that Aneze was searching for. Even if Ketch and his family were nervous at first to Aneze’s arrival, they quickly bond to her. Ketch makes almost a brother, as well as a friend, and Uncle and Aunt fill in as her mother and father, even though she does not forget her old parents or her hometown.
Aneze faces many life-threatening challenges, but unlike most books her biggest challenge is her first. When her town is attacked and she runs away, this is the hardest thing that Aneze has to face. One complaint I had with the book is that the end of the story gave Aneze very little challenge. I think it would have been more interesting if Raquel Rivera had made the ending harder on Aneze.
“Orphan Ahwak” shows real things a hunter may have had to do back in that time. At times, it is almost like a guidebook. Occasionally, however, it gets so involved it is almost cruel to animals. For example, the old man sometimes talks absentmindedly about killing various creatures, including his own lead dog. Aneze also does not appear to feel upset or show any sign of comfort to the reader, though, perhaps, this is just because her father is a hunter and she may have heard these kinds of things back at home. The book is very well written, though it may be frightening to younger children searching for a good read.
I would recommend “Orphan Ahwak” to my friends, just as long as they were prepared for the parts that are hard for animal lovers. The book was a very good book one and definitely one of my favorites. I believe it is good for children over nine and even adults. I think that Raquel Rivera will one day be a best-selling author, and “Orphan Ahwak” is a great entertainment.