The Son of Tarzan (Burroughs E., A., 1915-1916)

I can't really say that I care much of this particular Tarzan tale. I think a lot of of it stems from that it's a bit odd mishmash of styles aiming more younger audiences as well as bit older readers. It has a style of naivety as well as implausibility that didn't really bother me with the previous novels.

I know what you're thinking: aren't Tarzan stories all like that? Yes, to a degree. They are naive, but they also are very gruesome in nature. While they feel naive, they still are violent to a degree that lifts them over more typical childrens tales. Son Of Tarzan, while more violent than modern stories for kids, doesn't really manage to do the same.

In terms of plausibility the Son of Tarzan also looses to the first three as Tarzan himself is raised since he was an infant. Korak on the other hand learns the tongue of apes at the age of ten after which he runs away to Africa from London. After he gets to African jungles he soon picks up the survival skills as it all seems to be hereditary to him because of who's his daddy.

As I stated in the beginning, it's an odd mishmash. The way the Son of Tarzan starts feels like it was written for younger kids. Then the further it goes it changes style to something which would go as teen literature, then young adult romance after which it gets some bloodier tones, but never really goes as violent in description as the previous novels do. In short, it never feels like a story Burroughs was sure of for whom he really was writing it.

Tarzan himself has relatively small part in the story. He has lived in London with his family for a decade, trying to keep his son Jack (whom later turns into Korak) out of the jungle life as of the wishes of Jane. They both are prominent only in the beginning and in the end. Also Paulvitch, the remaining Russian baddie from the Beats of Tarzan, is given a small role in the narrative. He delivers ape Akut to London and ends up dying pretty unceremoniously without having his revenge on Tarzan despite he was so hell bent about it at the end of the previous story. sure, there's an explanation why that all happens, but in the end it just feels like a cop out from Burroughs's part, him writing out a character he had no real ideas anymore. Then again using Paulvitch as a main villain could have turned the Son of Tarzan even worse rehash it feels now.

I can't really recommend the Son of Tarzan. all in all it feels like rehash of the previous books, with Burroughs trying hard to turn his pulp hero into something more kid friendly. It is at places well written, but in the end I couldn't really recommend for its indented reader group because of the way Burroughs again describes non-white people. Or non-English for the matter.

Despite Tarzan stories do tend to have a reputation of being aimed towards younger audiences, it's a bit hard to recommend them as such, especially these days. For one, they are relatively gruesome and the violence in them might be a bit too much for todays audiences. And then there's the attitudes towards different cultures which in many ways are just flat out archaic.

That's the Son of Tarzan for you. A novel that doesn't really seem to know for whom it's aimed at. And in the same time a novel that feels like it's just a rehash of what has been done before it.

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