Michael Scott Curnes
Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (1/2021)
“Wicked Ninnish” by Michael Scott Curnes stars Heritage Warren Carter III, a 32-year-old businessman who is set to inherit his grandfather’s prestigious and wealthy paper company upon his death. In order to claim his inheritance, however, he is sent on a mission: break up a blockade established by environmental-conservation-oriented protesters and get work proceeding again at a new, up-and-coming resort called Headland Lodge. The only problem is that if Heritage is being honest with himself, he finds his sympathies lying with the protestors instead of his grandfather. Cognizant of how destructive his family’s company and the paper industry have been to forests, Heritage dreams of rectifying some of those wrongs. Venturing deep into the inlets and islands of Clayoquot Sound, Heritage will need to befriend some quirky, yet resourceful locals and faceoff against an unforeseen supernatural force in order to succeed in his goals.
“Wicked Ninnish” is a unique story that puts the spotlight on one of the modern day’s most controversial issues: mankind’s continuous role in effecting climate change. Before reading this book, I had never even heard of the 1993 War of the Woods, and from what I was able to learn from Curnes’ book, it seems like quite a monumental moment in history that has sadly been ignored by most of the historical record. This, in turn, puts yet another spotlight on how focusing mostly on “mainstream history” can in and of itself be detrimental to the advancement of peaceful society. Along with its unique narrator, “Wicked Ninnish” succeeds in forcing readers to think about how some of their daily habits, such as the use of paper and fossil fuels, might be able to be altered so that they can continue to live their normal lives, but also help protect the environment.
The biggest drawback for me while reading “Wicked Ninnish” mostly had to do with pacing and sentence structure. The book was a little slow to start with, and the author has some long paragraphs and descriptions that at some points almost feel like they have too much detail. This made some of the sentences tedious and tiresome to get through. While I’d always say that it’s probably better to have more detail than not enough, it’s important that the flow of the book doesn’t get interrupted by too much imagery.
Overall, “Wicked Ninnish” would seem to appeal to audiences who are interested in reading about environmental history and conservation, and who also don’t mind a dash of the mysterious along the way. I’m hopeful that “Wicked Ninnish” becomes just one of many books that aspire to join the ranks of environmental fiction in helping us form greener lifestyles.