Book Review: Feral Creatures, Kira Jane Buxton

Book Review: Feral Creatures, Kira Jane Buxton

 

Feral Creatures, Kira Jane Buxton

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Feral Creatures, Kira Jane Buxton

 

Ah, nicknames. Sometimes they are ironic–a large man being called “Tiny,” a fast runner being called “Slowpoke.” Sometimes they are complimentary–a smart woman being “Computer” or a dependable friend being called “Rock.” Sometimes they are affectionate: “Baby,” “Honey,” “Bubba.”

 

Then there’s the crow S.T. Seeing as this site does review children’s books, I will not say his actual name. Let’s just say that it’s an abbreviation for a redundant name referring to descriptions of fecal material and stick with the nickname.

 

In Hollow Kingdom, S.T. and his friend Dennis, a dog, try first to save the humans from the disease that has killed most of them and turned others into unrecognizable monsters. They then turn their attention to saving as many pets as they can before they starve to death, die of thirst, or get eaten by their former humans.

 

At the end of the novel S.T. is summoned to an island in Alaska for a stunning discovery: a human baby has been found. Dee may be the last unchanged human in the world, but human babies are hard to raise when you’re a crow. S.T. does have the help of a group of owls, and later the support of a young musk ox. But he is very worried that Dee is not acting like a normal human being. He has tried to teach her to read, he has made sure the owls do not feed her decapitated voles, he has talked to her in English and told her stories of the heroic dog Dennis, the amazing human that was Big Jim, and the glory of the species that invented Cheetos™. Still, for some reason, this child raised by a crow and owls and a musk ox does not seem to be quite human in her behavior.

 

Events conspire to return S.T. to his former home in Seattle, accompanied by Dee. Along the way they face challenges from both the transforming natural world and the transforming remnants of humanity. Ownership of the new world is in play, and the only thing everyone agrees on is that Dee is key to the future.

 

You may not have realized that you needed a foul-mouthed crow to restore your perspective on the glories of humanity. Without humans, Cheetos, Star Wars, and breast implants would never have been invented. (Not that a crow cares about the last of the three, other than noting the power they held over the late Big Jim’s concentration.) S.T. sees humans through a very different lens than your typical narrator and author Kira Jane Buxton does a fascinating and terrific job of capturing the voice of a snarky corvid who desperately hopes to recapture the magic of human invention.

 

I dare hope that the last days of our species are not in sight. If they are, though, hopefully there is an observant and verbose crow available to tell our story to whatever survives.

 

Also see: Book Review: Hollow Kingdom, Kira Jane Buxton

 

Feral Creatures, Kira Jane Buxton

Book Review: Feral Creatures, Kira Jane Buxton

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