Home > Categories > Books > Fiction > Ghosts of Parihaka review
They say the past is another country. Some people can go there. It hasn't been an easy time for Matiu Douglas, magical adept.
One of his friends is now a ghost, his enemies have stolen the Treaty of Waitangi, he can't date the girl he really likes and he keeps getting unwanted marriage proposals from a dangerous, centuries-old tohunga's daughter. But when his best friend, Riki, is snatched...
I found this book hard to get into.... I read a chapter and lost interest as I couldn't relate to the characters.... once I got further into the book I appreciated how David Hair delivers his clever and thought-provoking blend of contemporary and historical New Zealand, coupled with mythology and magic. I think I found it hard to get into reading this book because it is part of a series and parts of the book got confusing or didn't make sense because I didn't read the books before this one.
The book did have some fantastic moments and gave some interesting insights into the devastating events that took place at Parihaka in the 1880s. The main problem with the book was that it was clearly a 'middle book', which does not stand well on its own and sets up a lot of events which it then leaves hanging, to resolve in the final book. Which is perfect for an author that enjoys writing series of books, but I am not sure if I would want to read any of the other books in this series.
I like reading books that have strong female characters, and this book didn't deliver on that front, I understand it is a book designed to attract male readers maybe but I do wish it had a female character who stands on her own, rather than solely in relation to the males. I also think this book was written for a younger reader, and wouldn't be something I would pick up off the bookshelf and read if I wasn't reviewing the book.
The aspects of it being a New Zealand book based on our own history gives this book a tick and David Hair does a great job of exploring how two separate cultural identities can be combined into one national identity through shared history and knowledge. I am sure if I read the other books in the series I would understand this book better but as it stands alone this book isn't for me.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Young Billy Bowman and his mate Jack get caught up in the excitement when war is declared in August 1914 and leave their jobs on the farm to rush off and enlist in the Mounted Rifles - because the war would 'probably be over by Christmas'.
We follow their journey from the Awapuni training camp, to more training in the sands of Egypt before they finally get shipped out - without their horses - to fight at Gallipoli. And there they discover that war isn't the big adventure they thought it would be.
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