Boys of Blur - N.D. Wilson

From the Prologue:

Shall we run with them, you and I? Shall we dodge tractors and fire for small handfuls of fur? Will we grin behind shirt masks while caught rabbits kick in our hands?

Shoes are for the slow. Pull 'em off. Tug up your socks. Shift side to side. Chase. But be quick. Very quick. Out here in the flats, when the sugarcane's burning and the rabbits are running, there can be only quick. There's quick and there's dead.

Wilson's novel follows Charlie, as he discovers the deep magic and secrets embedded in the world of the Florida everglades. Sure, the swamps and the forests are mysterious enough, but add to that a mysterious figure wearing a sword and a helmet, along with leopards and shadow enemies, and you have a book that will captivate audiences, both young and old, that have an interest in the supernatural and the unsettling.

Though the novel itself is only a brief 200 pages, Wilson is able to cover a number of intriguing and disconcerting issues without entering into the entirely unbelievable. I wouldn't necessarily characterize this novel as magical realism, but there are definitely aspects of this world that are unbelievable, and yet they fit perfectly into the setting that Wilson constructs for his readers. 
The sugarcane looked like giant grass, bundles of green sticks taller than men tufted with long dry leaves like scythe blades. Separated by narrow, dark gaps, the rows marched away beneath the quiet blue sky. Not far from where Charlie stood, the sky's belly was rough with swamp tees. The fields and the trees both ended at the foot of a steep grass-covered dike—an earth wall taller than the white steepleless church and its mound combined.
The relationships between Charlie and Cotton, Charlie and his stepfather, Charlie and his father, and Charlie and the world around him, are all explored in wonderful detail. And although his relationship with his mother and sister are secondary to the text, they aren't altogether ignored, which makes the narrative arc that much more complete than if they had been simply ignored. Wilson's descriptions of the natural world and setting, as well as his descriptions of the main characters and antagonists are rich, complex, and full of detail that will keep readers enthralled and disturbed throughout the course of the novel.
"These creatures are made of envy, raw and ruthless," Mother Wisdom had told him. "Still, their greatest strength lies in our envy—their poison can grow than envy until it swallows you whole from the inside. But you're going as a giver, willing to give your life for another, and, honey, that brings its own protection...."
Wilson's language is beautiful, his setting is lush, and his dialogue is wonderfully realistic, all of which combines to create a story that will captivate readers both young and old, on multiple levels and through gripping action sequences.

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