Entries Categorized as 'Adventure'

Sword in the Stars

Our rating: ****

Alastair Coldhollow, a man with a dreadful past of evil deeds, has become a follower of First One. He believes he is the Caller, a prophesied person who will call forth the also-prophesied Halfainin. But when everything lines up and nothing happens, Alastair is faced with doubt and struggles to maintain his faith while getting used to disappointment in the midst of an oncoming war.

That’s an oversimplified synopsis. This book has so much going on, it’s hard to boil it down. It explores some very compelling themes without quite coming to a conclusion, leaving the door open for answers in later books. Wayne Thomas Batson started writing fantasy worlds in his The Door Within series, and this huge world tops that handily. There’s much more depth and detail to drink in here, though I do wish he’d describe things a little bit more, and I also found myself begging for a map more than once. My one real gripe is that I found the description of some of the fighting to be a bit much, but overall I had a great time with this one and I can’t wait for more.

Pyramid of the Ancients

Our rating: **½

A group of archeologists makes an astounding discovery when they unearth a pyramid with writings inside in a language nobody has ever seen before. Rebecca (from Logic’s End) and her husband Jeffery are among the team of scientists set to study the pyramid. But when they discover it has strange powers, and then accidentally turn it on during an emergency, the team is in for a wild ride through time and space that will challenge what they believe about the origin of civilizations.

The job of a reviewer is a difficult one. I often enjoy a book’s plot and characters, while at the same time I am put off by the writing style. Such is the case with Pyramid of the Ancients. Although I found the story itself to be excellent, fast-paced, and well thought out, I had problems with the writing style that refused to pick a point-of-view character and stay there. Also, a couple of chapters of unmasked exposition had me wishing that the characters would quit talking so the story could start again. That aside, this one has a great story, and the final book in the Origins Trilogy ought to be a humdinger.


Our rating: ***½

Nymah Rose has been trying her whole life to live up to her mother’s expectations as a replacement for Rose’s dead sister. A frustrating life, to be sure. Then, when her hope is weakest, the impossible happens. A talking polar bear offers to help her family out of poverty if Rose will come with him. After much debate, Rose agrees and sets off into a perilous adventure of mystery, danger, and enemy trolls.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. (Particularly once I got towards the end and suddenly recognized the plot as one of my favorite myths.) There was more superstition in the book than I’m usually comfortable with, but it’s portrayed as being a bad idea. The characters are well written, the plot moves nicely, and the settings are quite vivid. A great read if you’re looking for a medium-length book with an interesting plot. Be warned, though, it is a little hard to put down once you’ve started.

Masters and Slayers

Our rating: *****

Adrian Masters is chosen by a secret society known as the Underground Gateway to find a portal to a dragon planet. According to legend, dragons from this planet captured and enslaved humans many years ago. Adrian believes the legend is true and will stop at nothing to free the slaves. Meanwhile, his friend Marcelle discovers a plot by the government to kill Adrian before he can complete his mission. Together, Adrian and Marcelle must thwart both dragons and humans if they plan to survive on the dragon planet.

Masters and Slayers is supposed to be a companion book to Bryan Davis’ earlier teen novel Starlighter. It succeeds smashingly in that respect, but goes deeper and stands on its own. Readers of both books will find connections everywhere. Those who have yet to experience Starlighter will enjoy a rich fantasy world peopled by many mysteriously deep characters. Regardless of category, both sets of readers will be sent frantically scrambling to Amazon.com to check the release date of the sequel.

The Magic City

Our rating: ****½

Phillip is bored one day in his stepfather’s mansion, so he builds an enormous city out of anything that comes to hand. To his great surprise that night, he shrinks down (or the city gets bigger) and finds himself in a realm containing every city he’s ever built. Through various magical rules, his stepsister Lucy joins him in the city, and they set out on a quest to perform seven tasks and fulfill an ancient prophecy of a coming deliverer who will be king. But their progress is hindered at every turn by the Pretenderette, who wants to claim the throne for herself.

The Magic City is signature Nesbit. How else do you describe her delightful style and humor? The story world is cleverly put together in a way that leaves you guessing about what will come next, but it makes perfect sense once Nesbit explains. I only took off half a star because the main character is bratty enough in the first couple chapters to make you think it’s not going to be any good. Keep reading! This one has made it onto my list of favorite Nesbit books.

(And as a side note, The Magic City inspired Edward Eager’s Knight’s Castle, which makes it great fun to compare the two and see where Eager plays off of Nesbit in his unique take on this concept.)