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My Intro to the Verse Novel: Operation Manna — Sam’s Last Mission

by | Book Reviews, Literature Landing | 0 comments

This is going to be a short post. But I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a unique form of literature: the verse novel.

I was introduced to the verse novel by Simon Howard, AKA @Dwarven_King_SH. If you’re on Twitter, you should hit him with the follow — he’s a cool guy. He dropped one of his verse novels, Operation Manna: Sam’s Last Mission, on one of my writerslifts. I hopped over to his website, the Dwarven King Vault of Verse — which you can also access from my blogroll — and took a look. I was hooked enough to download the verse novel PDF and start reading. 

The verse novel is unique. Think a cross between an epic written in verse (like the Iliad or the Aeneid) and a children’s or middle-grade picture book written in poetic form. That’s what Operation Manna: Sam’s Last Mission happens to be like, but I’m sure the verse novel as a genre could run the gambit from children’s books (probably its primary use) to adult verse novels. This one happens to be tailored to middle-grade readers, but I’ll note that it definitely held my interest all the way through — so it works for adults, too. The story follows Sam and the rest of his bomber crew through their service during Operation Manna in World War II. Operation Manna was a British operation to drop food in the Netherlands, whose population was starving as the war wound down.

I learned a lot about history and especially historical terminology through this read. Simon includes a glossary of terms at the end of the verse novel that serves both to aid the reader and act as an educational device. I imagine that this verse novel would be a great way to introduce a younger reader to reading about war. At the end of the day, I just really enjoyed reading it. And I’m amazed at Simon’s talent for writing such long-form poetry. It takes a real touch to get the rhythm and rhyme correct. 

Find Operation Manna: Sam’s Last Mission here on the Dwarven King Vault of Verse if I’ve intrigued you. If anything, just read a bit to figure out if the verse novel is for you!

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