Award winning title: Third place in the 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature
A fast-paced adventure set deep in a Caribbean forest with a hero who must risk everything to save the forest and his village.
Twelve-year-old JV can't wait to spend his vacation exploring the Oscuros Forest. True, everyone in the village of Alcavere believes the Oscuros Forest is a place to be feared, inhabited by dangerous and magical beings. But JV is not afraid, even when his first trip into the forest brings him face-to-face with a mysterious creature.
Then the disappearance of one of their own shakes the village and JV joins the search. He finds himself deep in the Oscuros Forest on a rescue mission and committed to a promise, a promise which the Protectors of the forest insist he keeps no matter how dangerous things get.
Can JV complete his daring quest even as he uncovers in the process, a shocking secret that will force him to question everything he thought he knew?
Danielle Y. C. McClean is an author, a translator, and an interpreter. She has advanced degrees in French, Spanish, and law, and is passionate about language, folklore, mythology, and foreign cultures.
Originally from the Caribbean republic of Trinidad and Tobago, she currently lives in Tennessee with her husband and two children.
Secrets of Oscuros: The Whisperer's Warning (CaribbeanReads, 2017), illustrated by Rachel Moss, won the 2022 Bocas Lit Fest Children's Book Prize and is McClean's second novel. It is the sequel to Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors' Pledge (CaribbeanReads, 2017), which is illustrated by Lorena Soriano and one of three 2016 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Literature winning titles. You can visit Danielle Y. C. McClean online at www.daniellemcclean.com
I really liked this book. If it werent for Danielle McClean, I would have never known about the tales and bad pirates in the forest. I liked the mystery in this book. I found this book to be a fast read with characters I will always remember. Thank you, Danielle Y.C. McClean and NetGalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
GNA I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Danielle y C. McClean, and Createspace in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me.
What a wonderful way to share these Caribbean folk tales with the world! I found this short novel a quick read featuring characters I will always remember. Thank you, Ms. McClean, for allowing us all a window on your world. And double thanks, for the extensive glossary.
While the synopsis of this book caught my eye I just couldn't get into it and it might have been because I wasn't reading much fantasy or paranormal books at the time I requested this so I DNF'd this at 60%
The Protectors’ Pledge: Secrets of Oscuros by Danielle Y.C. McClean is the 2016 third place winner of the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
JV is an adventurous eleven-year-old boy on vacation from school. He lives with his grandmother who is the quintessential Caribbean granny; she loves to feed everyone who comes to her house. She is also the ‘medicine woman’ in their village.
JV has plans of exploring the forest for the vacation, he is very excited, but his grandmother and other villagers discourage him from doing so because of their suspicions and beliefs that the forest is the home of mythical/folklore creatures.
JV defies his grandmother and goes further into the forest that she has instructed him to. On his first visit, he goes with two friends, but they leave separately, and JV sees a strange woman in a river that makes him curious about who or what she was. He suspects that his friends have also experienced something odd or have seen something strange, but none of them says anything.
Soon after a little girl goes missing, and JV along with several villagers unsuccessfully search the forest to find her. When JV goes into the forest alone, he learns who the woman he saw was, and he discovers another mysterious character. They have the child and JV makes a deal to help them in exchange for the girl’s safe return home. JV wants to return the girl to her parents, so he bravely embarks on a mission to honour his promise. In turn, he is forced to confront a dangerous situation.
This book was lovely. Lovely isn’t a word I would typically use to describe a book, but I can see both boys and girls loving this story. It is, of course, entertaining but it also sheds light on an important issue and it incorporates folklore which is one of my favourite things to read about.
I enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced and still gave a lot of information. The story is quite riveting. There are several mysteries, including JV's own personal mystery which has not been solved yet. It was a fun read and an entertaining book.
There was a Caribbean feel to it which was just right. It felt Caribbean but was not focused on trying to force Caribbean culture after constantly telling the reader that Caribbean culture has been stifled in the past. This was well done and I think that more novels should do this. The folklore of the Caribbean is a rich part of our culture and was wonderfully weaved into the story. The Creole language also felt right in the story. I really liked the glossary at the back.
As engaging as JV is, this book feels like an introduction to his character. I feel like more can be done in a later book. I see potential for character development and growth. What struck me most about his character is his identity crisis which was nicely but inconclusively resolved by Granny B. JV still doesn't know who is parents are. We got an answer which led to even more questions. He also symbolizes the Caribbean identity yet Granny gives us something that is enough to keep us going. JV has lived his life so far not knowing everything. However, he still managed to do a lot and create his own identity. I do not think he and the Caribbean has to find an identity. If anything is found it can only add to what has been created from scratch already.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I wondered if my seven year old daughter, who only knows Trinidad as a place she visited three years ago, from which her closest relatives originate or where they still live, would appreciate the story.
We read it as a 'read-aloud' at bedtime and both loved it. We kept guessing (mostly wrongly and sometimes rightly at various turns), on where the story was heading.
This is a modern middle grade story, capturing the old folklore of Papa Bois and Mama D'Lo and what they represent in the contemporary world. Our accelerating abuse of forests and the ongoing extinctions are an urgent problem, in no way helped by poaching and illegal, brutal black market trading. This book explores the subject in a way which is suitable for 6-11 year olds - never too dark, nor technical but dangerous and exciting enough, with magical, mystical forest allies supporting our hero, JV.
Our hero is interesting in a relatable way and aspects of his personal journey brought tears to my eyes. Who is he really, if his parents, and even Grandma Bossie B, aren't who he thinks they are? Through an unexpected forest adventure, this is what he comes to know.
My daughter was keen on the sequel but sadly we haven't yet found it online. We hope it's still to come.