Monday, October 3, 2011

Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson

Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson
Pages:  256
Release Date:  May 22nd, 2007
Date Read:  2011, September 1st-3rd
Received:  Own
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  All ages!
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Summary -
Tom's father is dead, and he and his mother Elizabeth live alone in an old house chained to the top of a rock above a river.  After a frustrating dinner with his mother's suitor, Tom takes a midnight walk to clear his head.  But what starts out as innocent fun and a floating nap on a piece of packing foam turns into a wild ride down the river, under and over a few waterfalls - and into the mountain itself!  It's get out or die in the cavity of a mountain, and with a dead mean lying on the underground shore next to him, Tom's determination to live is fierce.  And what he finds on his journey home may be worth much more than hoards of gold.

My thoughts -
G.E.N.I.U.S.  Have I ever told you how I feel about this author?  The six letters above sum it up nicely.  Maybe even perfect.  Yes, to me, his books are the greatest, and that's saying something, when I have sooo many favorites.  I just can't get enough of his books...his level of awesomeness far surpasses that of all else.

This is my second time reading this book, and even now I know I'll never get tired of the story it holds.  It's so amazing, from front to back.  The writing is like, the best. EVER. The way Wilson views the world if phenomenal (and this is shown by the way he describes things).

This book will have you holding your breath the whole time, but not in the way you are probably thinking.  Don't expect nonstop action; do expect other forms of intensity, such as mystery, intrigue, and suspense.  Rationally trying to find your way out of the inside of the mountain, and how to live on the inside of a mountain for a few years, is extremely gripping, especially if you might be flooded in, and drown, and never get out until the water carries your dead body through its secret tunnels and into the light of day you died to find.  That is the kind of suspense in store.  I loved it; I hope you will, too.

This book as been compared to Robinson Crusoe, King Solomon's Mines, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Odyssey.  I agree.  If you've read any of those and liked them, try this adventure.  If you haven't read them, or maybe you did and didn't like them, still try this adventure.  You never know...and I definitely wouldn't want you to miss out on the possibility of liking one of my favorite books EVER.

Character notes -
These characters (like all of N. D. Wilson's characters) are........genius.  (Did you guess??  Haha!)  They're tangible, wonderful friends (or enemies) who all have a past, a future, a life of their own.

Tom is one lovable kid.  He did exactly what any 11-year-old would have done with a slab of packing foam - tried to float on it.  He is consistent and smart and content with the world.  He and his mother know each other well, and they both miss his father.

Reg, also, was awesome.  I can't imagine the story without him.  He is Tom's perfect counterpart in the story and he also helps to form the perfect ending for the story.

My favorite characters are (1. Elizabeth, Tom's mother.  I could picture her walking through tall grasses, picking up her skirts, her hair in a messy bun; (2. Phil Leiodes.  The bad guy.  He added a lot to the story and made things a whole lot more complicated; and (3.  Jeffrey Veatch.  Stupid, selfish idiot that he was, I just can't help but laugh at his ridiculousness.  I mean, when someone is described as having a saggy chest, chapped leeches for lips, and skinny-man fat beneath the chin, you can't help but laugh.

Story notes -
This story is rich.  Simple and fresh, but so, so rich.  It holds life and the desire to live; it holds friendships and mystery and a boy missing his father, wanting a father figure.  It's about a mother's love, cheeky and selfish suitors, and a man who must pay the price for his crimes.  All this piled into 250 pages, and still it's simple and easy to read and understand.  It's amazing how Wilson does this.

I love the humor this story holds as well.  In the face of Tom being lost under the mountain and the possibility of him never getting out, you have Jeffrey, who says and does the funniest things.  The sarcastic undertone never fails to give me a giggle, even when things are intense.  And after a giggle break, things go right back to being suspenseful.

Every scene is excellently executed and written, in every sense.


Summing it up -
Livening.  Spirited, vivacious.  I could smell the grass, feel the wind, and hear the rush of the river.  I felt and saw complete darkness underground, and the heat of Reg's torch scorched my skin.  I held my breath for more than a minute, swimming in pitch black water to get through cracks in the rock.  I look forward to doing it all over and over and over again!  Enjoy - feast!

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