Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: March Toward the Thunder - Joseph Bruchac

March Toward the Thunder by Joseph Bruchac
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on May 1, 2008
Published by Dial
Pages: 304

Louis Nolette is not American or Irish; he's an Abenaki Indian from Canada. He's also just fifteen years old. But none of this stops him from joining the Fighting 69th, the Irish Brigade known for its courage and ferocity in battle, during the final years of the Civil War. Louis feels compelled to join
up by the North's commitment to end slavery as well as the promise of good wages. But war is never what you expect, and as he fights in battle after battle, incling Cold Harbor, the Wilderness, and the Crater, Louis discovers prejudice and acceptance, courage and cowardice in the most surprising circumstances.


Not Joseph Bruchac's best novel. While he presents stunning historical detail when it comes to battles, dress, and the like, Louis Nolette is simply not that likable of a hero. It didn't take long for him to come across as more than a little whiny. The other soldiers couldn't make the slightest little tease towards him without Louis sticking out his bottom lip and whimpering, It's just because I'm an Indian. Even though the soldiers teased each other as unmercifully as they did Louis, and they weren't even that unmerciful to him. Talk about a victim complex! And a hero should never have that.

Aside from that rather glaring and important fact (having a likable main character is rather important; sorry), the story was fairly enjoyable. I was not entirely fond of how the Author wrote his battle scenes - they were very choppy, lacking complete sentences most of the time, and began to feel like a screenplay. And I began to groan over the number of times the Author felt it necessary to describe how a gun was loaded, and how the characters then had to position themselves to fire it. Okay, we get it! And if we Readers want to know how to shoot a rifle, we'll either read a manual, watch instructional videos, or get our next-door neighbor to teach us. Putting such descriptions in a novel slows it down - and this is coming from a person who loves guns.

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