Age Range: 10 - 12
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Spun off from A Practical Guide to Monsters (2007), itself a Dungeons & Dragons spinoff, this low-end fantasy pits a pair of orphans against a variety of nonhuman foes for the amusement of a set of bored wizards. Their memories magically altered, Evin and Jorick don’t realize that they’re sacrificial game pieces until partway through—whereupon they turn the tables on their erstwhile captors with help from a pouty elven lass (in essence a 74-year-old teenager) and for good measure scotch the lead wizard’s plan to become a “lich,” or undead supermage. Populated by off-the-rack characters who would need another dimension to be two-dimensional and related with the sort of rough-hewn prose in which “decimated” stands in for “destroyed” and lines like, “Her body began to cease trembling,” or, “His black robes curled around him, tendril-like,” are all too common, the open-ended episode sets a low bar for future sequels and spinoffs of spinoffs. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7869-5484-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Mirrorstone/Wizards of the Coast
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2010