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by Emily Rodda

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-029778-6
Publisher: Greenwillow

In the fourth in this fantasy series by Australian Rodda (Rodda and the Keeper of the Crystal, p. 50, etc.), Rowan follows the patterns set forth in previous titles. Rowan has become a hero to the Rin in previous books, but he is very aware that he is not larger than life, and now his renown has made him feel even more of an oddity in the village. Because he ignored an ominous feeling, Rowan feels responsible for the capture of his younger sister by a flying lizard-like creature sent by the Zebaks. Various friends from previous adventures join him in his quest to find her and bring her back, but as always, Rowan must first see Sheba, the witch-like seer for help on his journey. Sheba’s forecasts are told in poems that provide clues suitably vague and threatening, but as events unfold, reveal exactly the information the seekers need. Rowan and his companions are nicely ordinary, yet manage to have just the resources needed in their battle against the evil Zebak. The tale flows smoothly with threatening episodes paced to keep the plot moving. Rowan and his fellow travelers are far more likely to act independently than companions of Rodda’s Deltora Quest series where unity was critical. Although each adventure stands alone, this is much easier to follow when the books are read in order as new characters are introduced and continue to be important in following stories. Lacking depth in terms of exploring grand ideas, it is nonetheless satisfying to see simple determination and kindness rewarded with success. Solid. (Fiction. 8-12)