Summerland is a good, mythological book with a motley crew of characters and a bittersweet (just the way I like my chocolate) plot. Unfortunately, the book gets a little preachy sometimes with the (annoyingly obvious) moral about believing in yourself. It’s a bit confusing sometimes, and it does use a cliche (seriously? A wormhole?) but in a new form. The obvious-ish ending is sappilicious, with a “Oh my god. You mean the world’s not going to end?” like feeling. The whole book is a little bit annoying, because everything gets automatically solved. Wounds healed by that woundwood that you just happened to have lying around. Everything fixed by that ball you just happened to hit into the place where the gods live. Funny how that happens, huh?
There’s a wide range of characters in Summerland; from Sasquaches to giants to gods. There are dwarf-like creatures called ferishers. There are shadowtails, which are a mix of this and that, kind of like a alley cat. And there are (yawn) humans. The characters are usually incredibly optimistic, in spite of the fact that the universe is ending. Sure, there are a few pessimists; but mostly they’re “Let’s do this!” happy. Bleh. But they’re nicely crafted. The people do seem like real people. The mythical creatures…well, they do their part well enough. They seem pretty mythical, all right.
The mythology is a mish-mash of cultures. There’s some Norse; one of the main character’s name is Thor, the god of thunder. The ship the crew rides in is named Skidbladmir, the name for a Norse god’s ship. The baddie of all baddies, Coyote, is the god of all evil in every culture. (Loki, Prometheus, Beelzebub, etc.) There are four worlds; the regular one, Summerland, Winterland, and the Shining, which is the place where the gods live. The worlds are all leaves on a literal tree that holds all the worlds; that concept is pretty Native American. Yes, a literal tree. It needs no punchline.
Summerland is a good book, but the sap and attempt to make it sugary sweet subtract from the goodness of the mythology and the odd characters. I would rate it two checks, but there’s a Sasquach. 2 and a half checks.