Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: The Fiddler's Gun

Summary: America is on the brink of war with England, and Fin Button is about to come undone. She’s had it with the dull life of the orphanage, and she’s ready to marry Peter and get away from rules, chores, and a life looked after by the ever-watchful Sister Hilde. But an unexpected friendship forms between Fin and the fiddle-playing cook, Bartimaeus, which sets her on a course for revolution. With Bart’s beloved fiddle and haunting blunderbuss as her only possessions, Fin discovers her first taste of freedom as a sailor aboard the Rattlesnake. She’s hiding some dark secrets, but there are bigger problems for the crew—they are on the run from the Royal Navy, and whispers of mutiny are turning the captain into a tyrant. When Fin finally returns home, will she find Peter still waiting, or will she find that she’s lost everything she once held dear-- Rabbit Room Press

You guys all know how awesome My Friend Amy is, right? Well, besides thinking she is just the sweetest thing, I also love her book recommendations. I have her to thank for another terrific book. This time it's THE FIDDLER'S GUN by A.S. Peterson. I admit that I probably would have never picked this one up on my own, but I am so glad that she recommended it. I thought this young adult book was wonderful!

THE FIDDLER'S GUN really has a lot to offer teens (and maybe even tweens.) It is an action-packed adventure that will appeal to both boys and girls (although probably more to girls since the main character is female.) It is definitely a fun-ride, but it is also much more than that. THE FIDDLER'S GUN has a wonderful character in Fin, and I thought Mr. Peterson's writing was great. This book also gives the reader a great deal to think about, and I just love books that keep you thinking even after you've finished reading them!

Fin is just a perfect character for this adventure story. She is extremely brave (sometimes to the point of being stupid), but she is also loyal and kind. Although I considered many of her actions to be violent and even gruesome (and no doubt wrong), I found myself loving her. I do believe that she always wanted to do the right thing in her mind. I liked that she didn't fit in with society's expectations and was an outsider in almost every situation she faced, but that she stayed true to herself. Fin grew up a lot throughout the course of this novel and changed in many ways, but I loved that continued to be such a complex and emotional character.

I also really enjoyed all of the historical elements of this story. The book takes place right before America goes to war against England -- a time I personally find fascinating. I thought Mr. Peterson did a remarkable job of incorporating real life characters, events and places into the fabric of the story. It just all seemed so natural. Never once did it feel like I was reading a history book, but I still managed to learn a great deal about that time period.

Another thing that really stood out to me about THE FIDDLER'S GUN was Mr. Peterson's writing style. I loved how he told this story. The book kept my attention throughout partly because the story itself was so excited, but there was definitely more to it than that. Mr. Peterson's prose was almost poetic at times. I found myself re-reading paragraphs just because they were so eloquent and really hit on something. Needless to say, I was very impressed!

What I found so amazing about THE FIDDLER'S GUN is how much this book managed to accomplish in less than 300 pages. There was action, adventure, and lots of brutal battle scenes. But at the same time, the book was just filled with the theme of love. The novel also demonstrates that we aren't perfect creatures, but we must do our best and stay true to ourselves. I also really appreciated all of the over-arching themes of guilt, forgiveness, and redemption.

I think our mother-daughter group is a little young for THE FIDDLER'S GUN, but I can't wait until they are old enough to read (and appreciate) this novel. I think THE FIDDLER'S GUN would make an excellent book club discussion book. As I was reading this novel, I kept finding myself wanting to talk about Fin's characters with others. I was so excited to see that there is an in-depth discussion guide available for this book. It is excellent and includes separate questions on the characters, setting, plot and themes. There are also some "Points of Interest" topics which exhibit some of the real-life people, places and situations that are similar to the story. Some of the themes that exist in this novel include secrets, love, guilt, redemption, doubt, and forgiveness. The book is available in bulk pricing and there are some unique extras for book clubs who are interested. You can read the details here.

I highly recommend THE FIDDLER'S GUN to not only teens, but adults too. It is a very entertaining story that also had a great deal of depth. I am so glad that it's the first book in a series because I can't wait to read more about Fin and her adventures!

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this novel.


cindysloveofbooks said...

Julie, this sounds interesting. I will have to check this book out. I know Michael is a little too young but I am thinking that the older girls in the neighborhood Mmight like this.

Thanks for sharing the review.

bermudaonion said...

If both you and Amy loved this, then I'm sure I would too. Great review!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I really loved this book too and was excited to stumble upon your review here.

Amy said...

Yay! What a beautiful review, Julie! :)

Kristen said...

This sounds like a cool book. I always enjoy tales of women (girls) who did unexpected things like become sailors or pirates or whatnot.

Stacie said...

Julie, I wanted to read this book for Amy's online facebook book club, but other things came up and I never got it read. It is still sitting on my nightstand. Your review makes me want to get going on it soon. If you are on Facebook, you can chat about the book on their page I think it is Kate and Amy's book club or something like that.

Kim said...

I just absolutely LOVE the cover! Sounds like a great book, too.