Posted on September 3rd, 2015

Gomin Dayasri

Devin Jinadasa is the first Sri Lankan writer to have a trilogy of fantasy stories published by a British publisher. He is 16 years of age and attends Asian International School. It’s a book by a child for children. The Title of the book is SILVER MOON: THE WAR BEGINS. The publisher is the famed British publishing House of Austin Macauley.

His mother is lawyer Manoli Jinadasa who appeared in some of the most prominent cases of national interest in recent times such as the North East De -Merger, Dismantling of PTOMS structures, Land being made a subject of the Central Government over ruling previous judgments where Land was assigned to the provincial governments, Devaluing the Powers wrongfully acquired by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Mutur & Sencholai cases against the Military on Human rights allegations. Mrs Jinadasa appeared pro deo along with the other lawyers and was successful in every such case earning great public acclaim. His father is a Director of a high ranking shipping company.

A remarkable fact is that Devin is a closely associated in his temple activities and is a active young Buddhists and falls and worships most elders in the best Sinhala traditions he meets and is possibly the only Sinhala Buddhist of such tender age who has earned such esteem internationally in the field of literature at such tender age.

Here is a review of the book by another remarkable young girl of 14 years attending a school in Thailand. She is also a daughter of a famous lawyer Shalindri Jayasinghe (Mrs Ranawana) considered a brilliant legal mind now working in Thailand where her husband is attached to the Asian Development Bank.

Silver Moon:The War Begins
by Devin Jinadasa

Review by Sashini Ranawana

 This summer in Sri Lanka, I was asked to review Devin Jinadasa’s book Silver Moon: The War Begins, from the perspective of a young reader. As the daughter of Devin‘s mum’s friend, I have met Devin twice before; once as a very young boy, an encounter I cannot even remember and once a couple of years ago when we visited to see his new puppies. I knew Devin was cool when he remained calm and pretended nothing had happened when my little sister dropped one of the puppies she was carrying and nearly killed him!

So I expected a cool book by Devin and that is exactly what we have got. Once I had gotten over the initial shock of hearing that Devin had written a book at 14 years and had it published by 16, I started to get critical like any 14 year old girl would. However, the book captivated me from the start and I had very little to be critical about. The story is full of adventure and humor, both of which make the book an ideal read for young teenagers like me.

Obviously, the main reason the story appeals to young readers is because it is written by a teenager for teenagers, most of whom are obsessive about adventures surrounding werewolves and vampires and are always looking forward to more books of this genre. Most fiction and fantasy books tend to be written by adults for teenagers so it’s hard for the author to understand what actually appeals to those younger readers. This book written by Devin is enjoyable for this reason. He seems to know what language and what twists and turns would get his audience excited enough to not want to put the book down. Thankfully for me, for the first time, being late for dinner because I was buried in the pages of the book, did not anger my mum.

The informal language Devin uses is really what makes reading the book very easy. In fact, it’s a book that can be read and enjoyed even by those younger than me. The down-to-earth, easy-to-read style does not take away from the sophisticated plot. It is how he uses words that is most interesting. It’s funny how he uses everyday words boys and girls use amongst themselves so effectively to make the reader feel like they are a part of the plot. It’s so easy to identify yourself with the werewolves who seem to be saying and doing exactly what we kids say and do everyday. For instance,  Danny’s statement that nothing is going to stand between them and TV is so true of many kids of our age today and this is why they will feel like they belong somewhere in the book.

The beginning of the book, particularly the fist line which cuts straight into the subject, immediately grips the reader. By starting with a question, Devin has drawn the readers into the story right away almost making them a part of it. This is a very effective writing technique which he continues to use throughout the story to thoroughly engage the reader.

I was surprised at how Devin had incorporated his knowledge of myths and legends into the plot. This is a wonderful way to educate kids who are generally bored by such information. For example his interpretation of Greek myths and Japanese folktales is truly fascinating. Maybe the readers of his book will be inspired to learn more about ancient fables and stories. The way he has incorporated the legend of Rome’s creation, the story of the Japanese More, the myth of the Turkish Ashiai Tuwu and the Indian Raksha are incredibly interesting.

One of the reasons this book is very readable is because it’s unique, in comparison with other fantasy books about vampires and werewolves, where both are normally portrayed as the enemies of humans. For the first time I’ve read of werewolves on a mission to save the humans. In fact the book seems to be trying to break down many stereotypes; Werewolves who are saving the world, girls who fight better than boys and many more. Devin is exploring subject that do not have easy answers but he has been very brave in exposing us to them.

I loved the way Devin uses some uniquely hilarious figurative language such as similes and metaphors to give the story added excitement. For instance, it’s hard not to visualize a pulverized Sonny Rango when you hear the main character say he could ‘take on a thousand Sonny Rangos and turn them all into barbecued shish kebabs! Extra crispy!” It’s also not hard to imagine how difficult the job of Danny is when his task is described as being as difficult as trying to join two opposite end of magnets together”.

Devin is great at giving great details without being boring. For example his description of the werewolf hierarchy or the Wolf House are fascinating. He gives tiny details, such as about the role of the Sentinels and the Hunters or in describing Danny’s room, which look irrelevant but make sense when you finish reading the book. What an imagination!

The book is one big exciting story. Devin ends on a cliffhanger that really gets the reader wondering what is in store for Danny McMoon. He has been very clever in not giving it an end, for there are still many questions to be answered and so much to  look forward to. All I can say is that I cannot wait for book 2 to arrive.

The book is released in Sri Lanka on 4 September 2015 and has been launched previously in London and is available at leading booksellers.

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