An amusing series of vivid adventures, if a little slapdash.

ARMERA

A FANTASY

Two unlikely companions search for a kidnapped wizard in this children’s fantasy novel.

The land of Armera is orbited by the moons of Vesti, colonized long ago by wizards escaping the planet’s terrible wars. Armera survived these conflicts, and benevolent wizards have returned to the planet, forming a Wizards Council to broker relations between the two civilizations. But now, DeMartize—Vesti’s greatest wizard—has been kidnapped by the evil twins Kal and Sak, and the colony blames the council. With war threatening, the high wizard Mernes the Mad brings together his 14-year-old apprentice, Peterzik, and Cedric, a 14-year-old “hero rescuer and thief,” for the job of saving DeMartize. Peterzik’s knowledge and Cedric’s accomplished thievery make them the perfect pair. Guided by a vision from the council, the two set out on their long and dangerous journey across challenging terrain. They’re beset by many daunting creatures to fight, negotiate with, or trick to get past; these include the Snow King, a fire dragon, a water monster, and a kingdom of bats. And the duo will still have to defeat the powerful and wicked twins, hoping to rescue DeMartize before war is declared. Meccarello-Gerson has written several cozy mysteries. This book is her first fantasy novel, also rather cozy. Encounters are generally resolved without violence, and the story has a soft heart for animals. It’s a lighthearted and funny approach to the genre, as when Cedric appeases the Snow King—who appreciates the finer things in life—with haute cuisine (vanilla fudge ice cream). But grammatical errors, including sentence fragments (“Slipping to the ground and resting his back against the old friendly oak’s trunk and decided to take a nap”); clumsy narration (“His necromancy of instantly blast freezing became part of his building process”); and overly casual phrasing (“Enough on the dragon subject and let’s get back to Cedric”) make the novel feel hastily composed. Even the work’s map appears to have been drawn on a napkin.

An amusing series of vivid adventures, if a little slapdash.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

more