Review: Delta Legend by Kelan O'Connell

Delta LegendWhen 16-year-old Oakland California teenager, Calvin Pierce, makes a bad decision and winds up getting arrested, his mother is quick to take action. Determined not to lose a second son to the drug and gang violence of the inner city, she sends Calvin to spend the summer working for his great uncle in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

There in the predominately-white region of agriculture and recreational boating, Calvin’s a fish out of water with a chip on his shoulder. Complicating matters, a smart, beautiful (and feisty) local farmgirl, Mei Li Cheng, isn’t buying his city-boy ‘tude and relishes any opportunity to challenge him. If their instant combativeness is a thin veneer for sexual attraction, the outcome might have to wait. When severed body parts are discovered floating in a slough, Calvin’s summer of proving himself takes on new meaning. 

Something deadly is lurking in the deep, murky waterways of the Delta. Now the daunting task of containing the living incarnation of a mythical creature falls to Calvin and his ragtag posse of oddball characters.

Initially, after receiving a review request for Delta Legend I wasn't sure whether it would be my thing, the whole story seemed as though it was geared towards guys and I was not sure whether I'd really click, but I accepted it on a whim, thinking that it may be a good idea for me to step out of my comfort zone.

It was so worth the risk, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took some time to get into it but when it picked up I was hooked. Whilst at some points it slowed down and I was able to put the book down most of the time I couldn't because I was so gripped. O'Connell does a fantastic job at creating suspense and writing scenes which are both horrifying and funny at the same time. This book had the potential to be all-out action, but O'Connell doesn't take that road, instead she opts for suspense, mystery and humour which makes the book not only gripping but also funny and entertaining.

This book is also a coming of age story: Calvin begins to mature and adapt to his new home and he grows up a lot within the book. I really liked Calvin, he was streetwise and witty and very real and I have to say that his narrative and dialogue really seemed like it was coming from a black sixteen year old boy - considering that the author is not black, sixteen or a boy i was very impressed by this - Calvin seemed so real. I also really liked most of the supporting cast. Calvin's uncle, Samuel was one of my favorites even though he wasn't in the book for much of it. The deputy sherrif, Burt was very funny. I really liked Jess, the boy-next-door type and Mei Li, the spunky love interest. There is a whole cast of funny and unique characters and I really enjoyed reading about every single one of them.

The mythology part of the book threw me a little. O'Connell had obviously done some research on Chinese history and folklore, but it took me a while to get my head around the whole thing. I also felt like at times some things didn't make sense, and the characters seemed to accept the truth way more easily than normal people would have.

Overall, an exciting and thrilling read with an amazing cast of characters. I definitely think it's a book more geared towards boys, but I did enjoy the read, despite having some trouble believing the mythology part of the book.

Overall Rating: B-

Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review

1 comment

  1. I haven't heard of this book before and it sounds really different. He's 16, but you have it labeled as middle grade. Sounds like it's geared more toward YA. Thanks for a good review and for the follow. I'm new to your blog, as well :-)


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