A Seahorse Tale – by Michael Mardel – Review

The beginning of the book, strangely enough, reminds of the very first passage of Bible (except that this book is written with a first person narrative):

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Strange because it doesn’t mention the word ‘God’ at all in there! Compare that line with one of the last lines of the book: “We are all on the way to truth and light, as we are all conjoined to the Rainbow Serpent.”

In fact the entire book has a mixed flavor of classical mythology, the Bible as well as Darwin’s evolutionary theories. The kind of relationship the seahorse shares with the androgynous Rainbow serpent is best described in this line: “I am grateful to the Rainbow Serpent for thinking of me and bringing me to life.”

Who or what do you think the Rainbow Serpent actually symbolize? I would leave you to decide.

The author describes it as a fantasy tale but the story has in fact a touch of realism which isn’t usually found in fantasy genre; for instance, you can really feel the plausibility of the tale even if it seems to be ‘fantasy’ on the surface.

“Now there is nothing to eat, as the land has dried up. I do not know if the Rainbow Serpent deserted this area or what happened. All I know is she moved on and made smaller ponds where the tourists would not disturb her.”

The narrator is not some weird creature from an alien planet but rather someone with real emotions and feelings.

The story is entertaining in its own right; its lucid language only makes it all the more enjoyable (occasionally its language turns even poetic, though not cryptic). At the same time I would also say that the book is one creative way to describe the richness of ancient Australia (myths, folk tales and all) as well as the banes of the modern civilization, all of which is further contrasted with aquatic life – in a way that both kids and adults can equally enjoy.

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