Mar 24, 2015

Theo and the Forbidden Language by Melanie Ansley


In the isolated rabbit village of Willago, introverted Theo has a secret. Even though reading and writing were long ago outlawed as sorcery, Theo can’t resist the books hidden in the family cupboard. When a mysterious owl arrives with a priceless collar, Theo is the only one to realize it’s a word puzzle, and secretly rearranges the collar’s stones to form a sentence. Learning that Theo has broken the law yet again, the village elders imprison him, threatening him with exile.

In the dead of night he is freed by Brune, an axe-wielding bear who believes Theo has a different destiny. They escape to Mankahar, a land where the human empire is robbing animals of speech using a poison called “pacification.” The empire will march to the furthest corners of the land, enslaving all animals to use on their farms, including the rabbits of Willago. The only thing standing in the empire’s way is the Order, a society of free animals determined to defend their way of life. Brune, a member of the Order, convinces Theo to join him in their fight.

But Brune’s cause proves dangerous. Whom can Theo trust, when the empire punishes those who read or write with death? Worse, his fellow animals view the written word as sacrilegious. As the battle for Mankahar’s fate looms, Theo must risk everything—including love—to learn the full power of the forbidden language, or be silenced forever. 


The author has sent a review copy to Anniek. 

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Anniek's review

I was a little hesitant at first to start in this book because it is not a genre I normally read but I must say I'm happy I stepped out of my comfort zone!

In the world Theo lives in reading isn't allowed. I can't imagine such a world. Theo is a sweetheart. He is that little boy (in this story a rabbit) who sits in the back of the classroom and who doesn't get noticed. He's a fat little rabbit with a very standard color. He doesn't stand out in a crowd. The lady rabbit he loves chose someone else. By any means he doesn't qualify as a lucky rabbit who was born on a Sunday. His grandfather is teaching him to become a healer. Every now and then Theo tells stories to the little rabbits, which they love very much. They must keep that a secret though because Theo has been warned not to do this by the Elders.

This is a fantastic story about an ordinary rabbit who might just save the world and every animal on it. I love the way Melanie Ansley created this world and the characters. You feel the magic she wants to give the readers. It's the old battle between good and bad wrapped in a new world.

This book has been placed in the category children's books. I wouldn't give it to younger children, I think it's a bit too violent for that. Older teens and young adults who like fantasy will love this story. If you have children this age they definitely won't be disappointed if you get Theo and the Forbidden Language for them.

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