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Book Review: Little White Hands by Mark Cushen

A lot of adventure and a lot of heart!

By Marie SinadjanPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

Almost five hundred years have passed since the Seasons were at war. Half a millennium since Winter defied Spring, and lost. Generations have come and gone, not knowing the bitter freeze and howling snows of Winter ever existed.

But now, after centuries of silence, the participants in this ancient struggle have resurfaced and reignited their feud on the doorstep of an unassuming little kitchen boy.

Garlan’s dreams of being just like the knights he idolizes may not be as impossible as he has always been led to believe, when he is chased from his home and thrust headlong into the kind of adventure he had only ever read about in books.

Setting out on a journey that spans the entire kingdom of Faeland, Garlan will traverse impossible mountains and stormy seas and battle terrible monsters, all to keep the world he knows safe from an enemy who will stop at nothing to bring about a never-ending winter. With a cast of fantastical characters to aid him in his quest, can Garlan overcome his self-doubt and find the courage he needs to rise above his humble station and become the hero he always dreamed of being?

The fate of the world rests in his hands.

GENRE: Middle Grade / Lower Young Adult Fantasy


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Cushen has loved the fantasy genre since he accidentally stumbled onto Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion masterpiece, “Jason and the Argonauts”, while channel-hopping one Christmas-time Saturday afternoon, somewhere between the ages of 5 and 8.

Ever since then he has been obsessed with sword-wielding heroes battling monsters in fantastical lands, and now, after spending a few years writing his own Goosebumps fan-fiction as a child, he is attempting to create such stories of his own.

When he is not working his day job or sitting at his desk (ok, on the couch) writing, he can usually be found walking through the woods, either listening to a podcast about an obscure subject or the OST of The Last Samurai on repeat.


What an utterly charming, wholesome book! This is why I love reading Middle Grade / lower Young Adult stories. Things aren't any less dangerous and the stakes aren't any lower compared to adult fiction, but the protagonists aren't angry all the time or jaded or in a state of utter despair that they think the solution is to burn it all down or something. (I just find that exhausting especially with the state of our own world as of late.)

Garlan is a delightful hero. A real role model for young people. He's a kitchen boy with big dreams of becoming a knight, an underdog who takes on a quest to save the world — which he didn't have to, but did anyway. I was rooting for him the whole time!

One of the things I especially appreciated about how he was written was showing him processing the things he learned. He felt things and struggled with things, but more importantly, he learned and applied what he learned. Many heroes are already gifted with special abilities that they breeze through their adventures, but not Garlan. He learned and grew and earned his place, all while remaining kind and good-hearted. I just really really like that. Plus his relationship with everyone else was so good? I liked the variety of having mentor figures (a lot of them too, not just one who then dies per the popular trope LOL) and friends who are more his age.

Garlan's world is a fun one, too! Older readers might feel it's a little generic, but I think the use of familiar, across-the-board elements is a great way to prepare our young readers for the fantasy genre (particularly epic fantasy).

I highly recommend this for readers who want more accessible epic fantasy. It's got a lot of adventure and a lot of heart!

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️️


Hi! I'm Marie, a Filipino SFFH author and book reviewer currently based in the UK. I’m the co-author of The Prophecies of Ragnarok, a Norse myth new adult urban fantasy trilogy, and I also have several short stories published in anthologies and literary journals.

You can find more info about me and my books, and also subscribe to my newsletter for more content, here. And if you like what I do, please also consider supporting me on Ko-fi! 🩷

If you fancy a short read this #IndieApril, I have a cozy reimagining of the Norse myths about Hel, but it's just under 70 pages and can be read in one sitting. ✨ Plus there's a swag kit coming soon! Includes a "membership card," a bookmark, a sticker, an origami dog, and an exclusive 500-word story 🫶🏼


About the Creator

Marie Sinadjan

Filipino spec fic author and book reviewer based in the UK. •

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