⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Set in modern times, Tarzan is much the character he was when first discovered in the first book but Edgar Rice Burroughs. He’s huge and strong, capable of flying effortlessly through the trees, tough as nails, and king of the jungle. Jane Porter is a spoiled, selfish, bratty teenager who accompanies her father, a former doctor, to the Congo on a ill-fated expedition to illegally cut expensive hardwood trees from the forest. There, the Porters and their criminal helpers, earn Tarzan’s ire for their destruction of his homeland, made worse as they subsequently also provoke the local militants into conflict as well.
Jane is swept out into the jungle during a battle and rescued by Tarzan. They befriend each other and Jane starts to grow up as she learns to appreciate the jungle and the animals within. When her father and friends are taken hostage by the bloodthirsty gang of rebels and criminals, she enlists Tarzan’s help to rescue them. Tarzan, king of all the animals, recruits lions and elephants and gorillas, building an army that destroys the gangsters and rescues the hostages.
I didn’t realize the book was Young Adult level before picking it up, so it took a chapter to get into it because I was expecting too much. But once I realized the intended audience, the book seemed appropriate to the reading level. I didn’t feel like the writing style was as evocative as the original Burroughs books, but it wasn’t bad. I hate bratty teenage characters, but that’s who Briggs is writing for, so it made sense to have them. And they did improve over time.
One thing I immensely disliked about the original Tarzan was that he’s turned into a gentlemen and speaks fluently rather quickly and starts putting on airs. While the jungle part of the story was fantastic, I thought it was a complete mistake to take him out of the wild like that and I disliked that whole civilized section of the story. The Greystoke Legacy is a new origin story based on the original, and, at this point, they left him firmly in the jungle. I don’t know what the rest of the books in the series are like, but I hope they continue leaving him in the jungle for his next adventures.
I think it’s a book that teenagers today would enjoy as an introduction into the character of Tarzan. Probably easier and more interesting for them than the original might be.
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