When a writer goes out of the way to try and promote a book, I enjoy reading those books and providing honest feedback. John DeJordy did this and sent me a couple of his books to read and I was happy to give them a try. Unfortunately, my reading of the books got delayed for a couple different reasons but I finally got the time to give one of them a try and ventured into the world of “Picayune.”
Picayune is a dormouse who dreams of being so much more. He has dreams of adventure in which he is the hero that will always save the day. He is but a little mouse but he is larger than life in his dreams. One day, his village is attacked by Dragon and his friend, Ameera, is taken by the monster. When a search party is formed, Picayune declines to join as he does not feel like he is good enough. He then comes to realize that this is his chance to have an adventure and be a knight in shining armor and sets off to find his friend on his own.
Picayune finds a wider world than he could have ever expected as he ventures from his village and makes friends on his journey. He quickly befriends a squirrel who becomes his travelling companion as they go deeper into the woods. The quest is waylaid by tragedy, however, when Picayune is captured by the Badger clan and made their prisoner. He convinces them, however, that he can help them with their troubles with the Hawk clan and they agree to help him in return. Picayune has always dreamed of being a human instead of just a small animal in a big world, but he is quickly learning that his size does not matter since he has the heart of a hero.
I have to admit that this type of book is not normally the type of fiction that I would seek out to read. While I am a fan of fantasy, I am not really too interested in the type of fantasy that involves animals with human characteristics. That does not mean that my mind is closed to it, however, and I do admit that I enjoyed the book. DeJordy does a good job creating a world that is compelling yet easily accessible as one would look for in a book written for young readers. Given that the book is aimed at an audience around the young teenager level, it is well written and should be able to captivate the minds of the reader. I found myself getting into the story and enjoying it even though I am well outside of the target audience.
My biggest criticism of the book is the dream sequences. While I did not have a problem with the first dream sequence in the book, the subsequent dream sequences broke up the narrative and made the flow of the story a little herky-jerky at times. I think that they were largely unnecessary and were too long to fit neatly into the story. I do understand that point that DeJordy was trying to make with the dream sequences but I think that the point of Picayune’s dreams may be a little too subtle for a younger reader to pick up on. Without catching the meaning of the dreams, which is revealed at the end of the story, they serve as a kind of short story interludes in the story. I would have preferred that the main narrative of the novel have continued throughout uninterrupted by the dream sequences. I think that this would have made the story flow more smoothly and also would make it easier for a younger reader to keep up with the narrative. Still, “Picayune” is a very good novel for young readers and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a book of this type. It can be read and enjoyed (and discussed) by both younger readers and their parents as well. My 14 year old daughter (a fan of fantasy fiction and who has never met and animal she did not love) gave this book a thumbs up after she read it and I asked her for her opinion.
I would like to thank John DeJordy for this review copy. “Picayune” is available for purchase now.