National Park

Young Adult - Adventure
300 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Hinesh Vithal was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and he is immortal. Well, he wishes that he was.

He has lived most of his life in a previously segregated area of the country, a place voracious with hopes and dreams. He attained his honours degree in financial management and began his career at a large corporation.

Working in the corporate environment, Hinesh assumed many roles but has always had a pressing feeling; an elusive idea that there was something missing. Hinesh combed the corners of his mind trying to understand what this gap constituted of in an attempt to fill this void. This search led him to his early years where he had created short stories as well as a series of poems.

Through this journey of self-discovery and a brief holiday with ardent animal lovers to the famous Kruger National Park; the National Park Trilogy was born.

Hinesh still resides in Johannesburg and lives happily with his wife and son in an environment arguably devoid of any wild animals.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Paula Tran for Readers' Favorite

Hinesh Vithal's novel National Park will entertain young and older children alike. Follow the story of Raja, a family dog from India, who goes with his owners to a National Park. Raja is plagued by nightmares of a lion every night, the family is worried and thinks that the vacation will make Raja feel better. Upon arriving at the national park, Raja and his owners quickly discover that a rhino has gone missing, and an investigation begins to unfold.

I think this novel is a very fresh, innovative, and sweet book. It takes a different perspective in mystery novels, focusing on the animals instead of the humans. Various animals in the novel, from rhinos to giraffes and to dogs, are given voices and also emotions. This gives the novel a sort of touching feeling, that the story is personal to the reader.

The characters in this story are well rounded and interestingly developed. Each animal, human, and entity has an entirely different personality. Some are humorous, some are serious, and some are playful. This makes the story dynamic, because characters are what shape the plot and story.

Plot elements develop and unfold really well in the book. There is the right amount of suspense to keep the reader interested and into the book. I like how the author includes cliffhangers at the end of some chapters. This is always something I look for in mystery novels, and I think cliffhangers should be a part of this genre of fiction/nonfiction writing. It keeps the reader wanting more.

Jane Finch

National Park by Hinesh Vithal is the story of Raja the dog and his human family. He accompanies them on a holiday to a national park. Raja is four years old and he is excited by the trip, but slightly worried also. This is because of dreams he has about his death at the hands – or perhaps paws – of a lion. However, all is not as he anticipates and an accident ends in his being stranded in the park without his human family. He is forced to befriend a variety of wild animals including his nemesis – a lion – in order ultimately to survive. Raja is surprised to find that the animals of the national park work together in order and unison, and that there is even a council that works to maintain peace and tranquility amongst the animals. Raja learns a lot about the wild animals and the way they live, and the difficulties they had to experience to get to that position.

The author, Hinesh Vithal, takes the reader on a journey into the animal world as seen through the eyes of Raja the dog. It is a tale of bravery and unexpected compassion and shows the importance of teamwork with a group of unlikely friends. The writing is smooth and descriptive and the animal characters are well developed and believable, resulting in a credible story of courage and fear. This story also examines ways to overcome personal fears and to find comfort and solace in unexpected ways. Raja had to experience all of this in order to overcome his personal fears, that of being killed by a lion. The story weaves human feelings, fears and characteristics into the story in a clever and skilful way by using the animals of the national park.

Jack Magnus

National Park is an animal adventure for young adults and preteens written by Hinesh Vital. Raja is a young Puggle, which is a cross between the Pug and Beagle dog breeds. He’s about to turn four years old, which means, considering dog years, that he’s just about grown up. Raja doesn’t have very good feelings about this birthday, however, despite the fact that his human family dotes on him and even takes him on vacations. They know Raja is troubled as his nightmares make him howl and whimper at night. It’s a recurring nightmare that starts with a frightening birthday party and ends with him being eaten by a lion. When he discovers that his family is going to the National Park for a holiday, Raja resigns himself to the fact that the recurring dream is soon to take place in real life. The holiday begins with a nighttime tour of the park on a Ranger’s truck. Everyone was settled in and enjoying the glimpses of the wildlife when a spotlight scares a young elephant whose trumpeting blast alarms its mother. The enraged mother elephant rams into the truck, knocking it over and propelling Raja out and onto the ground.

Hinesh Vital’s young adult and preteen animal adventure novel, National Park, is an exciting and thought-provoking story that will appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. Raja’s story is a fun canine coming of age tale, and the reader quickly discovers that the little Puggle is actually a deep and philosophical thinker. His adventures with the animals at the National Park are marvelous. I loved sharing his reaction when he awakes with his head aching and a lion’s eyes examining him closely. The friendship he establishes with Niol, the lion, and the discussions and adventures they have together are transcendent. There’s also a mystery woven throughout this story, concerning the mysterious disappearance of Dhinoo, the elderly rhino who is one of the Council members of the Big Five that govern the affairs of the park’s animals. The animals fear there are poachers at work in the park, but there may be even more sinister influences at work. National Park is highly recommended.