Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (11/17)
In “The 4th Breed: Ramanuk” by Mark Ihada, readers follow fourteen-year old Dwendel Williford as he searches for a cure to an ancient curse, frees a nameless unicorn, and saves the lives of his friends and family. Along the way he makes new friends, parts with old ones, and struggles through a series of setbacks and trials.
The setting is easily the best part of this novel. Ihada has painted an intriguing and expansive world for both his characters and his readers to explore. The various races and political goals are interesting and make the readers hungry for more. The level of work that went into it is evident throughout.
Unfortunately, readers must view that world through Dwendel’s eyes. Compared to the rest of the cast, he is the least interesting character by far and the most unlikable. Choosing a different narrator would have made the overall story more engaging.
Dwendel is one of those protagonists that suffers from Perfect Hero Syndrome. His only flaw is that he is a terrible liar, which most people wouldn’t consider a flaw anyway. He is rude to most of the other characters and that is played off as both normal and expected. I found myself more invested in the fates of various side characters than his throughout the entire novel.
The writing style itself weakened the story considerably. Every minuscule action is explained in detail and the excessive use of dialogue tags is extremely distracting. Various typos are present throughout the text and character names are often confused with other characters who are not present. Another round or two of editing could have solved a lot, if not all, of these problems.
Though it targets a young adult audience, I would recommend “The 4th Breed: Ramanuk” by Mark Ihada for younger middle grade readers. The oversimplified writing would be less distracting to a younger audience. The positive elements of the story are overshadowed by the negative ones and that drags down the entire novel. Exploring such a fascinating world with a mundane and unlikable protagonist is the largest issue in my opinion and, unfortunately, I cannot offer much praise beyond the creation of the story world.