In Totem, an orphaned boy who has known nothing but the school he resides in finds himself transported through time and culture in the Pacific Northwest.
I wanted to be excited about the characters and the setting. But right from the start, I was very, very confused about the time period and plotting machinations. This could very well stem from my ignorance of the regional history, but then again, the target audience would be relatively ignorant of it, too, unless this book is perhaps somehow meant to accompany curriculum. From the mention of the motorboat, I deduced that the present parts of the story happened following the advent of the internal combustion engine, and that was about it.
There were other small details that had me very puzzled. I thought wolves have yellow eyes, for example?
I waited pages and pages for the main character, Jonny Joe, to solidify, but he never did. The adventure in the story never really appeared--it seemed to peek its head around the corner when the boys initially escaped, but after that, I was really very bored. The lack of explanations at crucial points also hindered my appreciation and understanding of Jonny's journey.
**note: thank you to Dundurn and Netgally for providing me with a copy for review.