The International Yeti Collective

The International Yeti Collective was written by Paul Mason and first published in 2019. It is a fantasy story about a young girl and her discovery of a secretive tribe of yeti. Although this novel is the first part of a planned series, at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Ella is thrilled to be spending her holidays in the Himalayas with her Uncle Jack, a famous adventurer. For his new television series, Jack is determined to prove the existence of the yeti. While the rest of his team is sceptical, Jack is confident that he will be able to use state-of-the-art technology to capture the elusive creatures on film and secure himself fame and fortune.

Tick is a young yeti who knows full well the dangers that humans pose. His own mother was exiled from the tribe for revealing her existence to them. However, Tick’s curiosity soon gets the better of himself as he tries to get a glimpse of Jack’s camp. Unfortunately, this puts his whole tribe in danger. As the yeti try to flee to safety, they are forced to leave behind the stone tablets that contain their whole history. Now that these are in human hands, it can only be a matter of them before humans learn the whereabouts of every yeti tribe on the planet.

It is up to Tick and his two friends, Plumm and Dahl, to track down the humans and reclaim the tablets. To do so, they will need to awaken the International Yeti Collective – a communication network between tribes that has been dormant for decades. Yet the most important help for Tick might come from a very unexpected source. Not all humans are bad, and Ella is eager to prove this…

I was attracted to The International Yeti Collective by its very exciting blurb, but I have been left a little on the fence as to how I ultimately feel about it. As always, let’s start by taking a look at the things that I felt that this novel did well.

The International Yeti Collective is a very creative novel which does a great job of introducing and fleshing out the world of the yeti. I really loved the chapters that detailed Tick’s way of life, showcasing the yetis’ slightly gross habits, their very literal names, and their important job in maintaining the ecosystem. This was expanded further as Tick and his friends journey to other yeti tribes in Asia and New Zealand, learning their different customs and seeing how they have evolved to suit their environments. It is clear that Mason has a great sense of humour and young readers will love learning all about Tick’s world.

The novel also carried a really nice environmental message that never felt overly heavy-handed in its delivery. This is a world where each yeti tribe plays a part in preserving the balance of nature, from cultivating fungus to protecting the Great Barrier Reef. These yeti, naturally, have a pretty low opinion of humans due to the fact that they seem to have such a casual disregard for nature. Through this message, The International Yeti Collective introduces such concepts as deforestation and the human impact on habitats in a way that is easy for young readers to grasp.

However, the balance of the novel always felt a little uneven. As I previously mentioned, I was attracted to this novel by its blurb, which made it sound as though the story would focus on the friendship between a yeti and a human girl. This wasn’t actually the case at all. Tick and Ella did not meet face-to-face until the climax, and the chapters were not shared out evenly. It seemed that about 75% of the novel focused on Tick and his friends, while the rest followed Ella and the human characters. Mason also seemed to struggle to find things for Ella to do in her chapters, particularly once she returned to New Zealand, and so these chapters felt a little repetitive until the yeti caught up with her.

While The International Yeti Collective was a nice feel-good story, I also found it to be a bit slow in places. For a short novel, it took a surprising amount of time for the plot to get moving and, even then, it chugged along at a fairly sedate pace. If you prefer your adventure stories to be filled with excitement and tension, this is probably not the novel for you. It’s more a journey of discovery than a globe-spanning chase. However, the story did have a very strong ending. Despite the lack of threat within its climax, it neatly tied up all loose ends while still making it clear what direction the series will take next.

In terms of characterisation, I was surprised to find that the yeti felt a lot more fleshed out than their human counterparts. As a majority of the novel followed Tick, Plumm and Dahl, the reader had a lot more time to empathise with them. Although the yeti had their own distinct beliefs, Tick is certainly a character that it is easy for young readers to like. He is honest, open-minded and curious; nervous when standing up to authority but still able to see the importance in adapting traditions to move with the times.

While Ella is also likeable enough, I did not find that I was attached to her in the same way due to the fact that the novel just did not focus on her that much. The more memorable character was Uncle Jack – the closest thing that The International Yeti Collective had to an antagonist – as he did receive a decent amount of character development as he was forced to choose between his desire for fame and what was right for the yeti.

Sorry for the short review this time, but I think that’s about all I have to say. While The International Yeti Collective was a nice and cosy read, it could be a little slow in places and I did feel that the human characters could have done with a bit more fleshing out. Still, I did enjoy reading it and will certainly be returning to this series again in the future.

The International Yeti Collective can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook from Amazon.co.uk

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