In the first book of a fantasy trilogy for elementary-school-age children, a young girl learns that she has a role in secret efforts to restore an alliance between the people of the Earth and the moon.
Just before her sixth birthday, Zola gets surprising news from her parents and brother: according to a prophecy, she’s destined to be part of a movement to restore the peace that once existed when Earth and moon warriors ruled the galaxy together. She learns more when she receives an unexpected visit from moon resident Luna—Zola’s imaginary friend, who turns out not to be imaginary after all. Debut author Vasisht introduces likable protagonists and intriguing ideas in this book, as well as some colorful Earth- and moon-dwelling pets. However, the book’s cumbersome setup is overly packed with back story. For example, a mysterious “BOOK OF RULES” was used by the former galaxy rulers, which followed the teachings of a “powerful and kind Spirit called Brahm.” This rediscovered “BOOK” is now being used in an effort to restore an alliance that was severed after a “Great War,” led by an evildoer from another planet, ASUROS, destroyed “almost everything on Earth.” The text doesn’t clarify, however, how Earth people managed to survive the planet’s destruction, nor does it reveal the specific parts that Zola and Luna will play in the present galactic effort. Also, the author distractingly overuses capitalization (“Coats of Arms,” a “Secret Room,” an “IMMUNITY” process, a birthday “MOON CAKE”). With a stronger edit, this story might have offered suspenseful fantasy fun. For example, the author might have considered reserving some plot points for her second book, in order to balance the exposition with more action scenes. She also might have considered doing away with the picture-book format altogether, as the uncredited, full-page illustrations here are bland and far too childish in tone for the book’s content.
An overstuffed kids’ book that might have realized its potential with more judicious editing.