Brother-and-sister team Nicholas and Alison Lochel, in their debut, deliver a fast-paced children’s fantasy novel.
The young Fyrelit siblings—brothers Neleik and Ervine and their younger sister, Sky—live together on their family farm a decade after losing their parents. During a fateful trip to the town market, Sky is kidnapped and her brothers resolve to go on a quest to rescue her. Neleik and Ervine plunge headlong into one dangerous encounter after another, involving, among other things, swordplay, dragons, the fallen city of Zarkora and a world-shaking war. Risking death again and again as they search for Sky, the Fyrelit boys discover that they have a destiny that lies far beyond their farm. The story has everything that young fantasy fans have come to expect: quests, taverns, vast landscapes, the aforementioned dragons and, of course, multivolume storytelling. (This is the first book in a series.) The book includes a map of the land of Fynaglade, appendices detailing the world’s currency and astrological signs, and a glossary of names and terms. The worldbuilding is professionally and expertly done; the text is even amusingly sprinkled with an invented (and therefore harmless) curse word native to the peoples of the story (“bhark”). The Lochels do a credible job of depicting edgy Neleik, calm Ervine and good-natured Sky, and readers will find them sympathetic and complex. Other characters, friendly and unfriendly, are also vibrantly portrayed. The prose tends occasionally toward wordy and even awkward passages, but it ably evokes the fantastic setting by appealing to all five of the reader’s senses throughout.
A solid fantasy adventure for young readers that engagingly depicts a fully realized fictional world.