Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
There are so many elements to this novel, Distant Rumblings, that I hardly know where or how to begin. Each one built on the other, and the way they meshed—intermingled and trickled down giving us one phenomenal element after another—left me reeling in such a good way! So, let’s begin with the incredible world that the author built and see where he takes us from there.
Welcome to Athens, Iowa, the the wildly imaginative brain child of author John Goode. Athens is the original hippie kingdom where shops have strangely wonderful names like “Donde Esta da Bean” (the local coffee shop) and even quirkier townsfolk. The whole community is so very small town but only in the best sense of the word. Here all loved and accepted, even those who dared to be different–cause there in Athens, different is the norm.
Here was a world built just for me, a place where I wanted to visit, sit for a bit, and watch the layers of imagination unfold and show me all the facets of the brilliantly drawn town. Not only did the author give us this quaint home town, but he proceeded to lay the foundation to an alternate realm—that of Arcadia. This is a land inhabited by elves and changelings, talking gems, and other mythical creatures. However Arcadia is not a peaceful nation and the recently exiled Prince Hawk is dispatched for his own safety.
Prince Hawk has been exiled in order to save him from the “dark.” The “dark” includes those rebellious and deadly elves that have revolted against the current monarchy. Accompanying the Prince are some of the most fascinating secondary characters to ever grace the written page. His cat, a changeling, is his bodyguard. He is also very much in love with the Prince. Unfortunately, his brand of love is jealous and twisted, much like the true form of this changeling itself. Then there is the ruby, also a Prince in his own right, but given to the elves. He is an elemental, taking the form of a gem. His often snarky and sarcastic view lends a great deal of humor to the novel and honestly left me laughing more often than not.
While these secondary characters give us a glimpse into the various plot twists and turns, they also help show that at its heart, Distant Rumblings is a sweet and tender love story about a sweet teenage boy, Kane, son of a hippie flautist and a deceased but gentle mother, who falls in love with a Prince named Hawk.
Kane shows Hawk that he has much to learn about compassion for those he looks upon as being beneath him. Despite this obvious flaw, Hawk really has a gentle and loving heart, and he gives it freely to Kane, who, by novel’s end, realizes that his heart too has been given away. I have read other John Goode novels—and there are so many things this author does right—but, an absolute certainty is his ability to write about young love. He moves it from the realm of sappy and feel good into a deep and abiding sense of the real. These are raw emotions and, as such, have a tendency to get trampled on, picked up, brushed off and put on again—it is a beautiful thing to watch—a John Goode love story..
John Goode is a master at weaving all these elements into an extraordinarily enjoyable novel. The way he uses language to create an alternate world, a ruling class of elves, and the intriguing mind of a sweet teenage boy left me breathless and giddy at the same time. I wanted to be Kane’s best friend, sit and exchange witty barbs with the Ruby Prince, and send that changeling packing more than once. This is the beauty of a John Goode novel. He strolls into your everyday existence and invites you to take his hand and enter a world where the very characters leap off the page and wrap themselves around your heart. A true master storyteller. A highly entertaining novel. An unbearably sweet love story. Distant Rumblings…a 5 star read.
*Special Note: The sequel, Eye of the Storm, is now out and available at Amazon. I am pretty sure if I twist Joyfully Jay’s arm just a bit—she’ll let me do the review—so watch for it here!