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A Heartwarming Tale; In Search of Goliathus Hercules by Jennifer Angus

Monday, January 07, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

'In Search of Goliathus Hercules' is a heartwarming tale by Jennifer Angus about a boy who endeavors to find a rare bug (Goliathus Hercules) and find his missing father. I found this book to be really quite interesting and engaging. Read the introduction for a bit of an idea on how I got so sucked into this book.

'The fantastic story of Henri Bell, a near-orphan who in 1890 is sent to live with his ancient great-aunt and her extensive button collection. One rainy afternoon, Henri strikes up a conversation with a friendly fly on the windowsill and discovers he possesses the astounding ability to speak with insects.
Thus commences an epic journey for Henri as he manages a flea circus, commands an army of beetles, and ultimately sets out to British Malaya to find the mythical giant insect known as Goliathus hercules. Along the way he makes friends both insect and human, and undergoes a strange transformation of his own.

I think part of the reason why this book was so engaging was the very vivid descriptions the author detailed. Angus didn't overdo the description, thankfully, as I get bored with extraneous information, but rather described the places and characters in as much detail needed for me to get a good picture of what was happening in the novel. Reading this book, I could definitely imagine I was in 1890 British Malaya with Henri and his friends, with the amount of depth Angus has put into description.

While reading this novel, I kept predicting what characters would do, what would happen to them and whether or not they were to be trusted. All my predictions turned out wrong. For example, I predicted that Maestro Antonio, the ringmaster of the flea circus, would be a cruel and vindictive man, willing to use Henri's ability to speak with insects to improve his sales at the circus. I turned out to be wrong. This novel is full of uncertainties, and there is never a guarantee that something will turn out the way you predict it will be.
I really loved the ending. Angus could not have found a better way to end this novel than the way that she has so marvellously done so already. The last few words give the sense of finality that I feel is needed to conclude any novel. I felt like I had lost a friend when I finished reading this book, which I think is the feeling you should get when you finish reading a very good story,
Albert, Whitman & Company, the publishing company that publishes this book has marketed it as 'Children's Fiction'. Although this book is definitely suitable for children to read, it should not be limited to children only. This is a novel that people of all ages should read!

An example of Angus's artwork
This book was beautiful, touching and a pleasure to read. I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, as I found very little problems with it. Jennifer Angus has done very well in her debut novel. She writes beautifully and her artworks of bugs, arranged in patterns to create visually stimulating pieces, are just magnificent. I recommend that everyone, and I mean everyone, go out and get this book when it gets released on March 1st 2013.

Keep reading and loving books!


(I got an ARC of this novel for free in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley)

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