Four young Americans attempt to uncover a prophecy as they search for a way home after being transported to a fantastic world similar to our own.
Twelve-year-old Michelle spends the summer with her grandparents in Transylvania, where a gypsy makes a frightening prophecy about her life and death. Michelle doesn’t understand it at the time, but when she returns to California she and her sister, Melissa, are propelled into an unforeseen adventure with their neighbors, brothers Perry and Nathan. In one of the adventure’s many moments of great magical tension, the brothers find a spell book, but their attempt to use it only teleports and strands the four in a foreign desert. The children make their way toward an enormous tree—the Lorn Tree—so large that houses are built on its branches. To their amazement, and in an impressively imaginative setup, the children discover that this is where the desert people live; one of the resident families adopts the children and teaches them about their new surroundings. The kids are eager to learn and to impart their Earth wisdom on their new Lorn friends, and though some chapters lengthily recap Lorn’s history, the characters’ energy makes it easy to root for them. At a festival one night, a fortune-teller recognizes that Michelle is the “Girl with the Golden Hair” who is prophesied to battle to the death with Hellferata, an evil spirit descended from the Greek witch Medusa. Unfortunately, Hellferata also realizes Michelle is a danger, so she sends her son, Dracu Mort, to kill Michelle and vanquish the prophecy. However, since this novel turns out to be continued in another volume, the two large questions (Will they make it home to California? Will they defeat Hellferata?) remain unanswered. In the meantime, though, there are plenty of monster attacks and that offset the many chapters of raw dialogue at the start of the story.
Satisfying action and adventure.