National Park by Hinesh Vithal: A heart-warming tale of friendship and courage

Book Review: National Park by Hinesh Vithal
Device: Kobo
Location: Express Bus number 1 (급행 1) from Jungri-dong to Jungangno-ro
Rating: Awesome-sauce

Hinesh Vithal’s National Park (the first in a trilogy) can be read and enjoyed on multiple levels. Set in the Madiba National Park – a fictional wildlife park in South Africa – this satirical novel tells the story of a young puggle named Raja who gets lost in the park and helps the rest of the animals to solve a murder mystery.

In the nights leading up to their family vacation, Raja becomes more and more worried that he might be destined to be lion food. When a night safari goes sideways, Raja disappears into the vast wildlife, just to be saved and taken care of by … you guessed it … a lion.

The lion takes Raja under his wing and teaches him about the politics of the park and the role that the Big Five play in maintaining balance, harmony and peace between all the species. He also introduces Raja to a wayward wild dog and a one-of-a-kind elephant and life-long friendships are formed.

However, all is not as it seems as one by one members of the Big Five begin to disappear, starting with their revered leader the rhinoceros. Will Raja survive to tell the tale?

Vithal spins a clever yarn that’s packed with action and adventure yet delivers a deeper message about the preservation of our wildlife. The perfect antidote for a somewhat homesick expat.

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