Title: Delta Legend
Author: Kelan O'Connell
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers looking for a mix of mythology and magic, with a YA twist.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
When 16-year-old Oakland California teenager, Calvin Pierce, makes a bad decision and winds up getting arrested, his mother is quick to take action. Determined not to lose a second son to the drug and gang violence of the inner city, she sends Calvin to spend the summer working for his great uncle in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
There in the predominately-white region of agriculture and recreational boating, Calvin’s a fish out of water with a chip on his shoulder. But when severed body parts start floating to the surface, his summer of proving himself takes on new meaning.
Something deadly is lurking in the deep, murky waterways of the Delta. Now the daunting task of containing the living incarnation of a mythical creature falls to Calvin and his ragtag posse of oddball characters.
When I first saw Delta Legend, the thing that jumped out at me was that this book takes place in an area that I've actually been. It's always really fascinating to read a story, fiction or not, where you can actually place the characters in the location in your mind. That being said, I actually learned quite a lot about the delta, and the history surrounding it. It's always nice to come away knowing something new. Especially if you are being entertained at the same time.
To be honest though, the first big thing I noticed when I started reading was how descriptive everything is. Not just the setting, but even the characters and plot points. Normally I'd be right on board with this. It's great to get a really good idea of who you'll be following into a story and where they are headed. Unfortunately in this case, I felt like it was a bit on the overkill side. Even characters that weren't essential to the overall story had lengthy descriptions. It made the book a bit hard to follow at times, and really slowed down the plot.
That's not to say that the characters aren't great! They truly are. If I had only had a few paragraphs to meet them, I would have still enjoyed them. Calvin especially was really fun and feisty, and the (reluctant) romance between him and another character was a nice addition. In fact, every character has their own wonderful personality. As I said, if the descriptions meeting them had just been cut down, it probably would have increased my enjoyment of the book. Too much information isn't always a good thing, especially when you have to filter through it to get to the meat of the story line.
What shines in Kelan O'Connell's story is definitely the mixture of mythology and magic. There is a Chinese legend that is blended perfectly into everything else, and it keeps you guessing until the very last minute. People do indeed die in this story and, although it isn't anything too graphic, you should be warned that there is violence. However it doesn't take away from anything, in fact it keeps the book moving. There's a lot going on in Delta Legend, but if you can grasp onto the main story I can guarantee you'll find an interesting read.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.