Review: Hamilton Hill – Legend of the East Road

Legend of the East Road
Hamilton Hill

Peter has just entered the world of Luhonono. Magdalene and Gimbo are waiting for him there, ready to start adventures in an unseen world. Setting out to find a princess and instead finding evil makes this novel roll forward.

26115925This novel was slow. Very, very slow. The first half of the novel happened, and nothing had happened. The princess they set out to see isn’t all that exciting. I thought she might be in peril! And additionally, 2/3 explorers already knew who she was.

I felt overwhelmed at all the detail, often I just wanted the story to happen more quickly! I couldn’t have cared less whether it was Peter or Gimbo who had the fastest eyes – their rivalry didn’t seem real. The relationships did develop, but it was in an awkward manner.

This novel was written by someone who had a real love of African culture and traditions, but wasn’t able to merge it seamlessly into an exciting read. There was so much potential here, but it just didn’t make it in. Chopping out some more dialogue or trimming down the perspectives would make this novel stronger.

For example, a simple discussion of a cubby house is stretched out over multiple pages to include a snake sighting (Chapter 6). I think a simple paragraph with the mysticism of the place would have done a far better job of setting the scene, and there was no need for all the internal dialogue by Mags.

The ending was a disappointment. Just as the pace picked up and things became slightly more enthralling, very quickly they were over and the sorcerer was dealt with. I did finally feel vaguely like reading it at that point, so that meant I could give it 2 stars (I finished it after all).

I’ve seen various things that have proclaimed this a ‘young adult novel’ or the back of the book which says it is ‘middle grade fiction’. Middle grade fiction is what this is. I’m not sure there were any deeper themes explored. However, I’m not sure if it common to middle grade fiction to start talking about the attraction that boys have for girls. Please correct me if I am incorrect – this isn’t usually my genre of choice.

All I’ve seen elsewhere are overwhelmingly positive 5 star reviews, and it seems strange that I can only give this one 2 stars. It’s not the fault of the intended audience, I loved the Dragon of the Month Club. Did I somehow not read the same novel that they did?


2 thoughts on “Review: Hamilton Hill – Legend of the East Road

  1. Dear Rose,

    Thank you so much for your honest and (I think) tremendous review. Reviews by their very nature are all subjective, particularly if Middle Grade (and Roads of Luhonono is Upper Middle Grade aimed at 12 – 14 y.o.) is not the reviewer’s cup of tea, but yours is spot on.

    Roads of Luhonono does have a large amount of five star reviews, and don’t get me wrong, I appreciated everyone of them, but they have not inspired me to improve my writing as much as yours does. Those two Eggs beat a full house, hands down!

    The second book, The Legend of the West Road, not being the scene setting book that the East Road was, is fast pace but unfortunately 2/3 explorers, being locals, know what a radio pig is – Peter and the reader (unless local to the area) will not. Hopefully, when published, you will once again agree to review the story – with luck I may even get a third egg.

    Hamilton Hill

    • A pleasure. I do try to provide authors with constructive feedback 🙂

      I gave a little laugh at your ‘cup of tea’ comment, as that’s what I’m usually drinking while reading a novel!


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