[I received a copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review]
Set during the first world war The Bronze Bear by Jerry A. Greenberg follows Fred Warrenton, a shy and intelligent boy, who at the age of 18 is drafted into the army. He quickly finds himself fighting on the front line in France, concerned not only for his life, but also those of his new friends. It is whilst behind the lines that Fred meets an older French lady who gives him a small bronze bear, telling him that it will protect him as long as he truly believes in its power. The Bronze Bear tells the story of a young man’s journey to gain self confidence and to take steps towards what he wants in life.
One of the things I liked most about this book was the likeability of Fred. He takes you along with him on his journey, during which you genuinely care for him and his safety. The story could easily have stopped there, but you additionally experience Fred’s exploration of self discovery, as he grows into a self assured, confident young man.
My biggest issue with this story was the way in which each character ‘info dumped’ whatever was on their mind. Even when confronted with armed enemy soldiers, everyone would share their life story in a way which doesn’t feel natural to how people speak in real life. Furthermore, It is shown early on that Fred is intelligent and well versed, however other characters would often speak as eloquently as Fred, despite it not aligning with their character to do so.
I would give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars, as it is an enjoyable read with a fun premise. However, it could definitely be strengthened with a professional editor attached to help with the pacing, as the writing improved as the story progressed. There were also some noticeable punctuation and grammatical errors, including the misspelling of the main character’s surname at one point. However, the majority of the speech throughout the book felt realistic to its time frame.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a historical story with a fantastical element.
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