Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Hunt for Elsewhere by Beatrice Vine


Abandoned by his family and raised by a wise, old crow, Saxton grows up to be no ordinary fox.

Where other foxes are ruthless, Saxton is merciful. Where they are greedy, he is generous. But for all that Saxton believes in honour and love, kindness and courage, other animals deem him no better than the moniker his kind is fated to bear: Lonely Thief.

Meanwhile, Dante, a battle-worn wolf missing an eye and an ear, left his pack for reasons he keeps close to his chest. One too many bad memories has left him cynical, and yet he somehow remains faithful to a fault. His lonely life, plagued by misfortune and dishonour, changes forever the day he meets Saxton.

Thrown together by fate, this unlikely duo travel across the North American continent, chasing trains, fighting hunger, evading man, and confronting their own inner demons— all while searching for redemption, family, and a place to call home.

My review

Hunt for Elsewhere came to my attention when a Facebook friend posted a photo of the cover. It was a birthday present and she seemed very excited to receive a copy, so I checked it out and purchased the Kindle edition.

I wasn’t prepared to be so totally engrossed in the lives and journeys of a fox, a crow, a wolf and many other animals.

Hunt for Elsewhere is a joyous and emotional, serious and light-hearted, pleasant and sombre read. The reader becomes emotionally involved with the characters, grieves for their losses, rejoices in their successes and loves when they find love.

As Saxton and Dante journey to their destination they make friends with, and are helped by, a variety of animals including a rat who teaches them to read, raccoons (one who has rabies), smart town cats, guard dogs, farm animals (some who surprisingly help Saxton), a mother bear bent on killing Saxton and a pack of wolves living in a reserve. However, the main influence on Saxton is Quill, the wise crow.

It is no sweet animal tale, but most of the characters are likeable, some even lovable. I particular loved Dante who has learnt life’s lessons the hard way.

It is well written and well-paced. There is plenty suspense, adventure, fun and some romance.

It is more than just a story. It is filled with lessons and wise words that form both Saxton and Dante’s personalities. The most important lessons are about friendship, acceptance and forgiveness.

The characters have human qualities (eg they can all talk to each other) but each demonstrates traits typical of their species. Although the animals are anthropomorphised their characteristics and struggle for survival are realistic.

The story is complete but open to a sequel with possibly some new adventures – one I would very much like to read.

This is not a cutesy animal story. It is the story of life and survival. As such it would not be suitable for very young readers. However, mature older children and early teens would benefit from the story especially if read with a parent.

I absolutely loved this story and can't wait to share it with my granddaughter when she is old enough.

My rating 5*

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