White Mountain by James T. Witherspoon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Nameless was born into a tribe of hunters that live in an icy tundra in the north. Nameless's father is the clan chief who is renowned for killing bears with his bare hands, his brother is blessed with incredible balance, and his best friend can use magic.
Nameless has yet to display any exceptional ability. Since he's part of a tribe that names its members for their exceptional abilities, he remains nameless. Until the day
White Mountain was an interesting tale of a younger son Nameless who becomes a skinchanger. The skin he changes into is shocking as it's his tribe's main source of food and clothing...a bear. Fortunately for Nameless he changes into a large white bear rather than the brown bears that live near his tribe. After transforming into a white bear, Nameless's father finally gives him his name White Mountain.
The beginning of the story really pulled me in. I liked Nameless and felt for someone with no particular talent in a tribe where talents aren't just lauded they in fact become a persons name. The story stayed interesting as he changed into a white bear earning the name White Mountain. I got excited about seeing a training of sort where the skinchanging White Mountain learned to harness his abilities and even change into different types of animals.
Unfortunately shortly into that the story changed from a young man adjusting to his skinchanging abilities to a story on how people are just other animals and shouldn't feel they are more important than any other living thing. The dialogue at one point literally says that with no room for interpretation. All this is accomplished while the main character as a white bear hunts and kills seals to sustain himself and his partner. The story took on a national geographic in the arctic tone which wasn't too interesting to me.
One other thing that I personally disliked is that Nameless/White Mountain's internal dialogue read at times as though he was explaining everything that was happening to the reader rather than the reader experiencing it right along with him.
White Mountain certainly has moments that really caught my interest, but overall it was just OK.
2.5 out of 5 stars
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