Books of Umber #1
Age Range: 8 - 12
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The beginning of a moderately engaging fantasy series employs a number of tropes readers will find familiar—perhaps irritatingly so. Happenstance—Hap—appears in a world he doesn’t know. He has no memories but a lot of languages, and he does not need to sleep. He is found by the wildly curious, intensely aware and distinctly manic-depressive Lord Umber, who clearly has a plan for Hap. The pair travels to Umber’s city of Kurahaven with the help of three unlikely and elaborately contrived characters. In Kurahaven, the action slows a bit while Hap learns about the world, discovers a few of his talents and sees the effect his startlingly green eyes have upon the populace. The climax, which involves a rockslide and a race down a collapsing stairwell and crumbling walls into the sea, comes straight from Indiana Jones. There’s a little bit of preaching, especially when Umber explains his own origins, and barely a pause without resolution at the end to prepare readers for the next installment. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7519-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Aladdin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2008