Review for Return of Tarzan

The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Genre – Adventure, Survival, Classic

Series – Second book in the Tarzan series

Rating – PG for peril and violence

Synopsis –

Picking up where Tarzan of the Apes left off, we find Tarzan on an ocean liner heading toward France. He has left Jane that she could marry Clayton. In doing so, he has given up his rightful title of Lord Greystoke. During the ocean crossing, Tarzan intercepts several attempts at besmirching and harming the Count De Coude’s honor. The count and his wife Olga are hounded by a man named Nikolas Rokoff. In siding with the Count, Tarzan has created a formidable enemy in Rokoff who will go to the ends of the earth to seek his revenge. Will Tarzan be able to settle for living a quiet life in France or will he revert to his former lifestyle as an ape-man?

My Thoughts –

I wanted to make sure I published another review before the end of the year. So, I decided upon Tarzan. I enjoy these rollicking adventure stories. They have a completely different feel to them compared to some of the writers today. You have a duel, espionage, fights, desert battles, and surviving the hostile jungle. I will say the first book is better in my opinion. Although, the two books could almost be merged together. The Return of Tarzan continues many of the themes from the first book.

Really the only thing that I didn’t care for was how the RoT was almost two separate books. The first section was set in France with the whole intrigue surrounding the Count and his wife. This section was well written, and I really enjoyed the duel and the courage and sacrifice Tarzan shows. The second half kinda wanders a bit and seems the author throws everything he can think of into it. You go from Tarzan being a spy to him finding the lost city of Opar and let’s not forgot the whole Arabian battle in Sidi Aissa. A little too much hopping from one event to the next for me.

I really liked Tarzan’s progression from a man who didn’t understand many common practices to becoming fluent in a variety of languages and cultured enough to pass in society. He truly cares for those around him and is a loyal person to the point of sacrificing his life. Also, I liked Jane’s personal development as she realized where her heart truly lay.

What a relief it was that Burroughs left off much of his primeval man talk. In Tarzan of the Apes, he spent a lot of time talking about about how man had evolved from the primeval ape. You can really see how Darwin’s theory impacted Burrough’s writing a bit which is kinda sad. Although, Burroughs also mentions a Creator or deity a few times.

Language – Pretty clean, only a handful of uses of mild language

Violence – There are several attempts made to kill or hurt the Count and his wife. Tarzan intercedes in a way that no one is harmed. There is a duel between Tarzan and the Count over possible infidelity. (more on that later) Tarzan is shot twice, but only scratches and is not seriously harmed. He is lead into a trap by Rokoff, yet Tarzan kills and harms Rokoff’s men and a few police officers. He almost kills the count in a fit of rage. Later in Africa is left for dead in the desert. He kills several lions to save his life. Burroughs makes it clear that he does not advocate aimless killing for sport. Tarzan battles several Arabs who work for Rokoff. Later, he is presumed dead after being pushed off a ship. I will note that most of the killing is bloodless and not very descriptive.

Innuendo – Throughout the book it is shown Tarzan being noble and heroic in his dealings with women except for one instance. After meeting Olga on the ocean liner, they become friends and he spends quite a bit of time with her and her husband at their home. Rokoff finds out about this and sets up phony letters to get Tarzan alone with Olga. Upon realizing the set up, Tarzan tells Olga what has happened and he comforts her. They end up kissing. The Count, also sent a letter, rushes home and sees them kissing. He believes that more had occurred. So sets up a duel. Tarzan realizes his mistake takes the blame for what happened and cleared Olga of any crime.

Conclusion –

All in all, it was a light splashy read. For a short novel it takes you many places around the world. I don’t know much about Burroughs, but he wrote in way that felt that he had been to all these places, especially the African sections. I really preferred the first book though. His whole learning to read/write was just fascinating, maybe that’s just cause I’m a teacher 😉 The portions of the book on the various ships were great and probably my favorite parts!

Now over to you! Have you read this book or the previous one? How was your Christmas?

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Anna

Review for The Umbrella

The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Synopsis –

This is a story about a little dog who ends up going on an adventure that takes him around the world. He visits Africa, the jungle, and even the ocean.

My Thoughts-

I recently found this book at my local library and read it to the kids at work. They have asked to hear this story over and over. It is still a current favorite after a couple of weeks. The pictures are beautiful, and the more times I read it, the more things I can point out to the kids. The fun thing about wordless books is that I can discuss things with the kids that I think are important like what animals live in Africa or what facial expressions the dog is making.

Violence –

One picture does show native Americans holding spears, but they are not in detail. You see the spears fly through the air and one hits the dog’s umbrella.

Another picture shows the little dog surrounded by alligators and one snake (as my kids like to point out). Nothing is directly shown.

You do see the elephant trunk who rescues the dog and blows him to safety.

Language – None, it is wordless after all.

Innuendo – None

Conclusion –

This is a delightful little book that introduces kids to using their imagination and different regions around the world. Throughout the book, you will enjoy seeing the adventurers the dog goes through. The one native American scene may need some discussion, but overall this is a book I highly recommend. Age range probably 2-5 on this one.

Review of The Hand That Bears the Sword

Summery from back of the book –

“In the midst of their joyous “honey month,” newlyweds Packer and Panna Throme are once again thrust unwillingly into high adventure. Pirate Scat Wilkins, no longer in command of his great ship, has returned with evil intentions for Packer as the Trophy Chase sets sail for deep waters once again. While Packer is away, Panna, his bride, faces danger at the hands of the lecherous Prince Mather.” (Polivka, 2007).

My thoughts –

This is the second book in the Trophy Chase Trilogy, and it picks up right where the previous book left off. It is the largest book in the trilogy clocking in with 423 pages. There was so much good stuff in this one that I cruised right through it. All the key characters, that I had met in the previous book, were back. Some of the scenes also reminded me of the Hornblower series which I would also recommend.

I would say that I enjoyed this plot better then the first. The author introduced a new nation, Drammun, and I loved learning how they were different then the Vast. Throughout this book we find out more about Talon which helped me to understand her. Packer had more theological questions that put his faith to the test. Should he trust in his sword or let God do what he had planned? Panna also seemed to grow up a little bit and I liked her as a character better.

Violence –

The violence was dialed back a couple notches, and the violence that was there was mostly related to battles. At one point Packer believed that God wanted him to save his friends by killing all the enemies on his boat. He killed many men, but was not descriptive.

The Firefish returns in this book in a way that I was not expecting, but it worked. The Firefish does destroy a couple ships and ate all that fell into the water.

A character is shot with arrows and dies in his wife’s arms. Another character is hung, but people tried to save him to no avail. Afterwards, the people revolt and fight the Drammun.

Language –

None that I remember.

Innuendo –

If the language was toned down, then the innuendo went up. Panna is kept at the palace and the prince there has a thing for her. For a while she does not realize that he likes her. Once she does realize, she tries to stay away from him. At one point he tries to kiss her, but she rebuffs him with a punch and explains that she is married. At one point he asks to have dinner with her, and she accepts, but knocks him unconscious before dinner.

Another character gets married for political reasons and does end up loving her husband. She becomes pregnant.

Overall

This was a great squeal to the first book. I would say that this one was my favorite. I loved the character development and how the author was able to take me to this different world. Even Talon, had a human side to her. The violence did not bother me, but it is in there. I was annoyed with the prince for the majority of the book. However, this was definitely a step up from the first book.

Works Cited

Polivka, George Bryan. The Hand that Bears the Sword. Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Review for The Legend of The Firefish

So for my first review I’ll start with a book that I just finished and really enjoyed which was The Legend of The Firefish by George Bryan Polivka. Here is the synopsis from the back of the book,

Synopsis –

“Packer Throme longs to bring prosperity back to his poor fishing village by discovering the trade secrets of Scat Wilkins, a notorious pirate who now seeks to hunt the legendary Firefish and sell its rare meat. Packer begins his quest by stowing away aboard Scat’s ship, the Trophy Chase, bound for the open sea. Through he is armed with a hard-won mastery of the sword and the love of Panna Seline, daughter of a priest of the kingdom of Nearing Vast, many tests of his courage and his resolve will follow -beginning when the young voyager is discovered by Scat himself.”

Overview –

This book mashed together pirates and fantasy with a dash of theology. Although it started a bit slow, it quickly picked up speed. It was a fascinating read, and I connected with the main character, Packer Throme. The characters felt realistic, and several of them had personal struggles that they were working through. There are several scenes that are very touching and emotional.

My Thoughts –

The book is written from a Christian perspective, but it is given in small thoughtful morsels. Basically the main character wanted to prove his father was correct and use that information to help others. For the most part Nearing Vast holds to Christian morals. The pirates are a mixed bag. Several are believers who strengthen Packer’s faith. While Scat and Talon are quite the villains.

Language –

There were a few references to hell and sending a person to hell. Also a couple instances of the use of idiots, but other than that fairly clean.

Violence –

There is a fair amount of violence spread out throughout the book, but that is to be expected for a pirate novel. Of the violence mentioned, none of it was gratuitous.

First, a character is keel hauled under the ship and almost dies due to lack of oxygen. One character was considered to be a witch, but she isn’t. She saved a person by expelling water from his lungs. Same character tortured the main character both physically and mentally. It did end up being a good thing, but was descriptive.

Secondly, there were several sea battles between the pirates and the Firefish. The Firefish swallowed people who were in the water and accidentally electrocutes the main character which caused him to almost fall. Several sailors died in battle or were stabbed. Another minor character was punched in the face. We did not find out what happens to him until near the end.

Lastly, there was a sword duel between two characters. Despite the the fact that they were fighting, this scene carries a lot of weight. During the sword duel, one character gets stabbed and get a couple minor cuts.

Innuendo –

Packer liked Panna ,and we saw the effect it had, but for the majority of the book they were separated. They kissed three times, but it was not descriptive.

Conclusion –

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. The book is geared towards adults as an adult fantasy, but I think young adults would get a lot out of this book as well.