The Language of Bears
When Adam Green stumbles across a mysterious box containing a talking head, he sets into motion a chain of events that will shake his world to its foundations.
Eidswick’s The Language of Bears follows young Adam Green, who lost his parents seven years previous when they decided to walk into the dangerous forest and never came out. Rational people said they must have been eaten by the gigantic bears that roam the forest. The more gullible claim they were witches and that they had been seen in company of said bears instead. When Adam comes barreling out of the forest one day, yelling about finding a talking head in a box, people think he’s succumbing to the same witchy affliction, especially because no box or talking head are to be found.
This sets gossip to flying and garners Adam an offer of buying his property by Obadiah Broke, so Adam needn’t live next to ghosts. Adam declines the offer, and the mayor sets to work trying to nip the witch talk in the bud. But when three people come up missing, and their bloody clothes are found next to Adam’s house, the townsfolk are ready to burn him at the stake. A coup by the Brokes puts Obadiah’s son, George, in the mayor’s seat. Once there, George reinstitutes the Sabbatical Laws and takes Adam into custody in order to execute him. But there’s more at play here than meets the eye. What secrets are the Brokes hiding, and why will they use any excuse at all to get Adam’s land?
This was a very interesting story. About 27% into it, my suspicions grew about the story’s reveal, with an eye to M Night Shyamalan’s The Village. Things didn’t play out quite the way I’d predicted, but pretty close. There is definitely a correlation here, be it intentional or unintentional, between Obadiah & Calvin with Rump and the US Republican party wanting to go back to archaic backwards thinking and between Gladford & Doc representing more progressive change (even with Obadiah’s hidden agenda). Obadiah/George’s goal to “make Arcadia great again” only reinforced the similarities. Double ugh, just because I so greatly dislike Rump. Also, Calvin’s group is the one disparaging of women, believing that “the Lord” gave the most “intelligence and power to the one with the most trouble keeping regular church attendance.” Triple ugh. The author clearly doesn’t support those ideas, seeming more in favor of rational thinking and useful progress.
I adored Daisy and Hildegard, more than any of the other characters. These two girls kick ass. They both really gain a measure of maturity and self-reliance, and I felt they were more dynamic and compelling characters than most of the others.
There were times when the story felt a bit convoluted. It’s a good story, but it can certainly use some clean up. It needs a good proofing/spellcheck. There are places where the gender of a character changes, or the name changes to a person not in the scene at all. There’s one place where a character enters a room and sits on the bed, then flounces onto the bed. There are times the characters use more modern words, like hombres, though they are recent descendants of the Puritans. A little polish, and this could be an excellent story. I look forward to seeing Eidswick grow as a writer.