Review: Journey to Mano in ‘The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira’ by Lou Diamond Phillips


Recently, we were given the opportunity to read The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira before its release. It’s a breathtaking, prodigious, and astonishing journey worth sharing. Below is our review of the book by writing, directing, and actor extraordinaire, Lou Diamond Phillips. This will be a spoiler free review (mostly), so feel free to read on!

This novel by Lou Diamond Phillips is based off of the Hans Christian Anderson book called The Tinderbox. In Phillips’ acknowledgement, he mentioned that this was the source of his inspiration, along with his beautiful wife and daughter, who helped in the creation of this new and improved story. The Tinderbox by Anderson relays a similar story that Phillips decided to transform into another time, reality, and dimension. Yvonne’s beautiful artwork was not featured in our version of the story, but we encourage readers to buy the hardcopy to ensure they are able to see her 30 illustrations. There are not words appropriate enough or that could possibly do this novel its due diligence. The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira is a remarkable narrative, transporting the audience to the planets of Indira and Mano. There were many audible gasps, verbal outbursts (mostly screaming “NO!”), and the welling of tears that emerged throughout the entirety of the book. The elegance of the words coming off the page enraptures the reader and motivates them to continue on with bated breath, in order to satisfy the craving for answers.

Courtesy of Yvonne Phillips

The story follows Everson, an Indiran soldier who leaves his planet of Indira to fight the war with the planet of Mano. The war has been raging on for eons, since the Great Schism that broke the once united planets apart. On his own and on enemy territory, the soldier goes on alone. He is scared, starving, beaten, and miserable. What follows is a beautiful and frightening story that leaves an impression on the audience and makes them ponder their own destiny and fate. Does anything happen by accident? Or is there an ongoing plan laid out for us to follow?

The story not only gives Everson’s perspective, but the perspectives of many other characters and how each of their paths cross with one another. Each character’s story allows more insight into their thoughts, their relationships, and more that allows for better understanding. The transition of each perspective is clearly evident and makes for a well-rounded storyline that allows the reader to fully develop their imagination. While reading, it felt as though we were seeing the world of Mano and Indira around us due to the usage of imagery displayed by Phillips. The impressive vocabulary by Phillips had us reaching for our dictionary because the words used were so magically advanced, it made us realize we needed to broaden our knowledge. Personally, it was rather helpful and opened up a whole new world of words never before seen. Furthermore, although the story could be very serious, it also allowed for comedic, lighthearted moments with many of the characters that caused for several moments of laughter.

During the duration of the novel, we started to make connections with other popular literature and media. For one, the relationship and circumstances by two characters reminded us of a Disney classic — Aladdin. Upon further research, we discovered that Phillips has narrated Aladdin’s Lamp from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, a children’s story originally published in 1992. Another connection was to one of the most popular pieces of literature by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. We won’t divulge too much, but the similarity from these titular characters to two of characters in The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira had us doing a double take. These realizations helped connect us to the storyline and make for a more meaningful experience we could take with us once we reached the end of the novel.

All in all, this novel went above and beyond our expectations. We applaud Lou Diamond Phillips, his wife Yvonne, Aethon Books, and so many others that made this fantastical world come to life, and fall into the hands of eager readers. This story had love, loss, selflessness, determination, character growth and development, diversity, courage, and more that allows the reader to embark on a journey in this life and the lives of generations to come.

Make sure to grab your copy of The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira, available now for purchase. Trust us and take the journey to Indira and Mano.

Kailey has been a writer for Nerds and Beyond since 2018. She received her bachelors degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May of 2020. Some of her favorite TV shows are The Blacklist, Supernatural, and Prodigal Son, to name a few. She also loves all things Disney! You can check her out on social media @kaileygross.

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