The fast-paced first installment of a magical YA fantasy series.
Eleven-year-old Wizdom isn’t like the other kids in his grade. Sure, he likes hanging out with his best friend, Chris, dissecting frogs in biology class and solving riddles. But Wizdom’s unusual name is just the tip of oddness: His ethereal-looking adoptive mother is evasive about his birth parents, his equally beautiful and ethereal-looking aunt seems to be able to appear and disappear at will, he can see auras, and two school bullies find themselves at the mercy of mysterious forces when they mess with Wizdom and Chris. Lately, Wizdom has also been having an especially vivid dream in which he finds himself in a dark, cavernous throne room ornamented with jewels, gold and sculptures of dragons. Hiding from the bullies one afternoon, Wizdom discovers a hidden passage—accessible only by solving a riddle—that leads to the throne room from his dream. This time, however, Lord Rilien of the Land of Maldor is there to greet him. Far from being a normal kid, Wizdom turns out to be Wizdom Winthrop III, the “third son of the third son” of Maldor, and he has a great, dangerous quest ahead of him. When he meets Pandora, Lord Rilien’s pretty and smart granddaughter, things get even more confusing and complicated for Wizdom, even without the addition of magic. In blending adventure with emotional growth, author Woodard captures the moment when the wonder of childhood meets the complexities of adulthood. The props here are nothing new—dragons, ancient symbols, magical jewels, goblins—but YA readers will delight in both the wit and gravity displayed by the two protagonists. Dialogue is a bit stilted, yet the packed plot, myriad characters and classic fantasy tropes will keep younger readers engaged and inspired.
An imaginative, if not particularly original, YA adventure.