Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight

Rated 4.14/5 based on 22 reviews
Danny Firoth is an average thirteen-year-old who finds himself at the beginning of his eighth-grade year, struggling with some of the more common concerns that plague a boy of his age: bullies, homework, and his mother. Sabrina Drake is the new girl. She is beautiful and spellbinding, but carries a fantastic secret. Together, they begin an epic journey to become Knights of the Light. More

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About Daniel Fife

I began writing Light & Dark during my years as a graduate student at Ball State University under the major of Counseling Psychology. What began as a simple hobby quickly turned into something more as I found a passion for writing. While carrying the schedule of a full-time student as well as working a part-time job, I devoted myself to write at least one page a day. After graduating, I received the opportunity to begin practicing psychology as a counselor at a local private practice. My devotion to my writing did not waver. Working a full time schedule and maintaining a full complement of clients, I maintained my dedication. A year or so later, I completed the rough draft of Light & Dark and began the editing process, and a process it was. Writing this novel has proven to be a dramatic learning experience, and I am sure that I still have much more to learn. I look forward to this opportunity as I continue to grow as a writer and inspire, you the reader, to join me on this journey.

Reviews

Review by: gaele hi on May 21, 2013 :
So often, I will see reviews that will mention another title, intimating that this is the “same”, and diminishing the book being reviewed by insinuating it is an imitation. While there are obvious correlations to the set-up for the Harry Potter series here, the similarity ends quickly.
This is a uniquely styled blend of fantasy and reality, with characters who are very current and solidly developed, who just happen to be a part of a training programme that involves magic and spells.

Daniel Fife has managed to create a book that even reluctant readers can enjoy: there is enough of the fantastical to break up the mundanity of every eighth grade life, and the ultimate quest of good versus evil, as you are just learning what powers and skills you have makes for a gripping tale. Yes there are friends, and the friendships are tested, and the importance of trust and being there all create small lessons on the way. But mostly: this is a highly enjoyable read that holds your interest from page to page as you learn and discover this new world with Danny.

As the start of a new series – this one shows great promise: the pacing and world-building were well done and maintained after some early repetitive moments. I was fortunate to have received the newly-edited version: and what I had was a very clean, well-written story that managed to keep interest and flow after a bit of a slow start early on. As a debut novel, in a high-fantasy style written to appeal to (but never pander to) younger readers, it was an impressive work. And I am looking forward to book 2 in the Light & Dark Series.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review and inclusion in Children Read week. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Alannah Clarke on Jan. 13, 2013 :
*Free book in exchange for an honest review*

In this novel, the main character Danny's game begins to become reality to him. Well not to him but to the reader as well in this well written novel.

The books was so realistic which really made this book terrific for me. I did think at first that the book would be a little young for me but honestly as I got further into the novel, that didn't really matter anymore. This book is suitable for any age as it explores the age old dilemma between light and dark aka good and evil.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Alison Gussack on Jan. 10, 2013 :
I received this book from the author in return for an honest review. The things that I love about this book are:
- The cover illustration is so cool!
- The idea of a hidden world that no one knows about is, of course, awesome, and classic
- Fife's world of Knights of the light and dark is also classic and yet he puts a new twist on it and we have yet to learn of the "grey" although there are hints
- The idea of the bonded weapons is not entirely new, but pretty cool
- The discoveries at the end of the book were great, but I am not sure yet whether they were worth the journey (see below).

What I did not like:
- It was a way too long and painful trip to get to the interesting and exciting part (no spoilers here) which was around page 375
- The language of the kids is non-realistic, stilted, uncomfortable and was difficult for me to get through (the main reason it took me so long to finish)
- There is too much repetition, such as constantly reiterating the exact way that the knights shakes wrists and arms instead of hands. There are other examples as well, but this is the one that stands out in my mind.
- Danny's friends' personalities seemed very much caricatures of themselves, a little overdone. And again, very repetitively overdone.

Many people really enjoyed this book so I may be in the minority. I believe that you have to assume that young people know what you are trying to get across and you do not have to write down to them or be overly repetitive to get your message through.

I wish Mr. Fife the best and believe there is much more to come from him. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review Light and Dark!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Momma Chaos on Jan. 08, 2013 :
I wish I could give this one more than 5 stars! It easily outdid a typical 5 star. If you like Harry Potter type books, you'll love this one!
This book was full of mysteries and intrigue. It was very well written and drew me in so deeply, I was trying to read it during the midst of a bad case of the flu when I could barely keep my eyes open. Then I tried to talk my 16yr old into reading it aloud to me. lol. I didn't have time to get over the flu to find out what happened next.

I loved the main character Danny and his assortment of friends who make this journey into the unknown with him. Chris has to be my favorite of the friends, something about his unfaltering loyalty to Danny makes me want to hug him. The author has a gift for writing deep lovable characters and making us truly feel connected to them.

I am assuming this is the beginning of a series (yes??) and cannot wait to read the next installment (hint! hint!!)! I am going on record now to predict this being one of the next big movie hits like it's predecessors Harry Potter, Twilight & Hunger Games to name a few, this book has all the major characteristics of a box office hit!

*I received this book free as part of a R2R program for my honest review. *
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Stephanie K on Dec. 27, 2012 :
I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review so here goes.... I really liked this book it was an interesting concept and although I had a few harry potter flashbacks at the beginning it was a very small portion that was alike. Elves, Dwarves, Wizards, Dragons, Swords and so many other things rolled into the old world charm that goes along with it made this a very fun and exciting read, also I must add the sword fighting was very good I don't know what it is but I love a good ol' sword fight :)
Young Danny plays a card game called Knights but the game becomes very real when Sabrina Drake shows up at his school and Danny and his friends learn of the gift of sight and decide to become a knight of the Light. There is something big on the horizon but that helps Danny have many friends with him at his training I liked all the characters but Danny and Chris were my favorite they had a very strong friendship which I found very cute and I know that Chris will be a big part of the journey now faced by Danny and all the people of the Light. I liked the pace of this story it mived quickly but not to quick if that makes sense overall a very good book with an interesting concept that I am indeed invested in I look forward to the next installment.
Thank you to the author for allowing me to read this book I was entertained and enjoyed the ride with these characters
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kateryna Kei on Dec. 26, 2012 :
"Light & Dark" is a very pleasantly paced adventure fiction.
The characters are fascinating and realistic, the plot is cool and captivating.
I found the book very entertaining, easy to read and impossible to put down.
I absolutely advise it to readers of all ages.
Looking forward to the next of the series!
Thanks
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Clarissa Cartharn on Dec. 02, 2012 :
"Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight" is a fantasy adventure fiction of a 13 year old boy, Danny Firoth, who discovers that he has powers that are of a different world. "Light & Dark" traces Danny's transition from an average student in his school to his development as a Knight of Light at a Knight's academy called the "White Rock Academy".

The novel successfully draws the reader into this magical world, a place of elves and dragons and other magical creatures. Fife knows exactly what he wants in this world, what he wants of his characters and what they are to do. My favourite was the dwarf blacksmith, Sir Bartlett Firebeard who although played only a minor role. I was actually hoping to see more of him. There are other concepts that will keep you intrigued and turning through the pages to the end such as "The Navi", "Bonded" and "Drakes". I quite enjoyed this book and would recommend this to persons of any ages. I would definitely love to see Danny Firoth fully harness on his powers in the following books, should Fife develop into a series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: TwistedAlyce on Nov. 26, 2012 :
Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight by Daniel M. Fife

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and how gripping I found it.When I first started reading it I found it a bit slow and was waiting a little too long for something to happen but when the story finally got going I was sucked in to the world of the Knights of the Light and the ongoing battle with the shadows.I did find the story to be similar to that of Harry Potter but not by much.The storyline was nothing really unique but it worked well. The idea of creating a card game that helped find new Knights of the Light was a really great idea and fit well in to the story. The idea of the bermuda triangle has the entry point and just like in Harry Potter the island is hidden from view and no one knows it's there.The characters I seemed to have problems relating to all of them, they seemed always to be on the outside Like they didn't want you to get to know them in a way.Danny seemed guarded all the time like he was scared to open up the rest were just filler people.I would have liked to have had more magical creatures in the story but maybe they be in the next 1.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Masquerade Press on Oct. 12, 2012 :
"Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight" by Daniel M. Fife is the delightfully engaging tale of Danny Firoth, a young teenager caught up in a tangle with bullies at school. He and his friends discover a card game called Knights that is, in reality, a kind of portal to a magical world where dragons and knights in an epic battle between light and dark forces. To his astonishment, Danny discovers he has the magical power to see future actions before they happen. Like many teenage boys, Danny likes the new girl at his school, but the thinks she is out of his league. He later learns that she is as mysterious as she is beautiful in that she bears a secret identity and is directly involved with the mysterious happenings at the school. Danny learns that he and his friends share a destiny, to be a part of an ancient magical knighthood charged with defeating the dark.

I found this book to be entertaining, engaging, and well written. The action and intrigue begin early in the book, and the action continues throughout. I found it difficult to put down. Although it was written for young adults, I think readers of all ages will enjoy this escape into fantasy. I'm looking forward to other books by this author.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Jennifer Shwalter on Oct. 03, 2012 :
Magic returns to the Young Adult reader

I was privileged enough to receive Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight as a free promotional gift from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Light & Dark begins with a young boy by the name of Danny who soon meets a high school crush by the name of Sabrina. However, Sabrina is not what she seems as Danny discovers, not only a power within himself, but also that Sabrina is actually a half-dragon of an ancient race called the Dragonic, or what we humans call dragons. Sabrina explains an ancient struggle with an evil foe called Shadows. Whisked off to a magical island, Danny, Sabrina, and their friends are taught the techniques of blade work and compete in mock battles with swords and armor. Perhaps the most fascinating prospect about this book was the use of a kind of magical weapon called a Bonded. I will not spoil the surprise of where these magical blades come from, yet, the premise of their creation is one of the most unique and imaginative
ideas I have read in a while.

According to the author, this novel has been edited for mistakes that were pointed out by other reviewers. I personally am a stickler for mistakes, yet, I could not find one grammatical error in the book. This could of course be due to the fact that I received my review copy after the said mistakes were reportedly corrected.

In any case, Mr. Fife has created a magical world full of adventure, action, romance, coming of age drama, realistic and likeable characters, and beautifully described scenes - really just about anything one could ask for. I would highly recommend this book to middle grade, young adult, and any age group beyond.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Mick Haverhill on Oct. 03, 2012 :
Excellent...

My oldest boy, 14 years old, originally bought this book on his kindle and absolutely loved it. After telling my youngest boy about the book, 12, I bought the print version of this book for my youngest. He is one of those that enjoy having a physical book rather than the digital. Plus he wanted to take it to school with him. In any case, both of my boys absolutely adored this book enough that I decided to read. It really is a fantastic read. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, which both of my boys are, this is for you. However, Light & Dark is also a very good fantasy read for just about anyone who enjoys a coming of age story full of magic and action. This book seemed to combine some of my favorite books all into one; Harry Potter, Enders Game, and Magician's Apprentice. Highly recommended.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Mick Haverhill on Oct. 03, 2012 :
Excellent...

My oldest boy, 14 years old, originally bought this book on his kindle and absolutely loved it. After telling my youngest boy about the book, 12, I bought the print version of this book for my youngest. He is one of those that enjoy having a physical book rather than the digital. Plus he wanted to take it to school with him. In any case, both of my boys absolutely adored this book enough that I decided to read. It really is a fantastic read. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, which both of my boys are, this is for you. However, Light & Dark is also a very good fantasy read for just about anyone who enjoys a coming of age story full of magic and action. This book seemed to combine some of my favorite books all into one; Harry Potter, Enders Game, and Magician's Apprentice. Highly recommended.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Anna Everhart on Oct. 02, 2012 :
Book Review: Light and Dark: the Awakening of the Mageknight- 3 stars

Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight begins with an average 13 year old, Danny Firoth, beginning his 8th grade year and reuniting with his buddies. He is taken with a new girl, Sabrina, who quickly becomes friends with his group because of their shared interest in their card game of “Knights.”

After an encounter with a dragon fighting the dark, and discovering that he possesses the curious and exciting ability of foresight, Danny realizes there is a world of good and evil that is far more realistic than he ever imagined. With his friends and Sabrina with him, they have an opportunity to spend their summer attending a secret school learning how to be a knight of the light. The truth slowly unfolds as Danny learns more about his past and his true destiny that will change his life forever.

Daniel Fife has come up with a wonderful storyline that is unique enough, but would also remind you of popular stories like Harry Potter. It is relatable to a YA audience, and contains a relatable love story, along with the themes of good and evil, fighting for what is right, loyalty and learning by doing. Fife’s writing continues to improve throughout the book, especially with the thrilling fight scenes, and his beautifully thorough scene descriptions.

Unfortunately the grammar, typos and repeated use of cliché phrases such as “did as bid” and “for but a moment,” truly distract from the story. The pacing also needs reworking with too much character details all at once, and too much time and development of the scene at school, where the majority of the story takes place at the Academy of the light.

If these changes were made, this book would be fantastic and receive 5 stars, however, I can only offer 3 stars in its current state. If you enjoy YA fantasy, this book is worth reading. I am definitely interested to find out what happens next in the series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Anna Everhart on Oct. 02, 2012 :
Book Review: Light and Dark: the Awakening of the Mageknight- 3 stars

Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight begins with an average 13 year old, Danny Firoth, beginning his 8th grade year and reuniting with his buddies. He is taken with a new girl, Sabrina, who quickly becomes friends with his group because of their shared interest in their card game of “Knights.”

After an encounter with a dragon fighting the dark, and discovering that he possesses the curious and exciting ability of foresight, Danny realizes there is a world of good and evil that is far more realistic than he ever imagined. With his friends and Sabrina with him, they have an opportunity to spend their summer attending a secret school learning how to be a knight of the light. The truth slowly unfolds as Danny learns more about his past and his true destiny that will change his life forever.

Daniel Fife has come up with a wonderful storyline that is unique enough, but would also remind you of popular stories like Harry Potter. It is relatable to a YA audience, and contains a relatable love story, along with the themes of good and evil, fighting for what is right, loyalty and learning by doing. Fife’s writing continues to improve throughout the book, especially with the thrilling fight scenes, and his beautifully thorough scene descriptions.

Unfortunately the grammar, typos and repeated use of cliché phrases such as “did as bid” and “for but a moment,” truly distract from the story. The pacing also needs reworking with too much character details in the first chapter, and too much time and development of the scene at school, where the majority of the story takes place at the Academy of the light.

If these changes were made, this book would be fantastic and receive 5 stars, however, I can only offer 3 stars in its current state. If you enjoy YA fantasy, this book is worth reading. I am definitely interested to find out what happens next in the series. I did hear that the author, Daniel Fife has made several changes in the editing, so definitely pick up a copy for your enjoyment!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Angelica on Sep. 26, 2012 :
Pretty good, I'd be interested in reading more from this author
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Yaz on Sep. 16, 2012 :
Received as a gifted copy in exchange for review

This story is full of mystery, action, and teeenage crushes. The story is similar to Harry Potter. The characters are diverse in personality and traits.

The story takes us through the life of Danny, a teenager that finds himself with a new power during a brawl with the school's bully. Once this power is revealed there is no hiding from it. Enemies and allies seem to appear out of nowhere and a new reality invades Danny's life. Elves, dragons, wizards and humans unite to fight the dark forces of the world.

I enjoyed reading this book. It had enough mystery (suspense) to keep me reading it. I'm curious to see where the sequel will take Danny next.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Charles Kravetz on Sep. 03, 2012 :
A really good story, but too many errors in grammar and punctuation interrupted the reading.

DISCLAIMER: gift from author for review purposes.

Danny Firoth is an average thirteen-year-old who is starting eighth-grade. He spots the new girl and falls for her, hard. She has a secret that will change the lives of Danny and his friends forever. There is enough spins and twists to really make this a fantastic story.

This is a very good story. The author has done a lot of work in writing this book, and it shows in the way the story reads. The plot is excellent, with a good spin on wizardry, dragons, elves, dwarfs, right and wrong. I found the way the story is done to be a great spin on what seems to be popular today. The book does start out a little slow, with the first couple of chapters seeming to repeat the first one. However, the astute reader will realize soon enough the book really does mimic the average teenager. The characters are as appropriate for their age.

I really want to recommend this to the young adult and teen-age readers out there. Unfortunately, I can not do that. I love to read. I learned of lot of English language through the books and stories I read. In reading this story on my kindle, I realized the teenagers and young adults today are also learning grammar and language use from their reading. This book contains too many errors to be enjoyable.

I could have really enjoyed the story, if not for the grammar and punctuation. Too many places with a characters name followed by the statement, instead of a comma, made reading difficult. Also, waste in place of waist, nit in place of knit, your instead of you are, made the text flow rather difficult.

While I would give the story itself 5 stars, the grammar and punctuation errors are too numerous to allow me to rate the kindle edition higher than 3 stars.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Sadie S. Forsythe on Aug. 29, 2012 :
Light & Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight follows the eventful life of thirteen-year-old Danny Firoth and his friends as their world is turned upside-down by the sudden realization that creature of myth might not be so mythical after-all. After a slow start the book moves along at a nice clip. An interesting assortment of characters pepper the pages, some of them more sympathetic than others. I was particularly fond of Calador and Chris, but had little attachment to Doug or Matt. The perpetrator of the sinister plot isn't too hard to guess, but neither is he/she so obvious as to make finishing the book obsolete. There is just enough misdirection to make you doubt yourself. The writing is generally crisp and easy to follow. My only complaint is Fife's REPEATED use of the same phrases, most notably "for but a moment," "did as bid," and "kept his council." There are a couple other ones that show up too often for the repetition to go unnoticed, but they weren't as quite as frequent.

Be forewarned though, this is apparently the first in a series. Unless I know before starting that a book is part of a series I'm always a little disappointed to reach the end of it only to discover it isn't actually the end of the story. The book is already 312 pages long, so I understand why it had to be broken up. Though threads are left open for continuation it isn't too much of a cliffhanger. I'd definitely be interested in seeing where Fife goes with it. I would consider this middle grade or lower young adult, but I enjoyed it all the same.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: EponaReviews - Charlotte on Aug. 28, 2012 : (no rating)
In this story, Danny’s game becomes reality as does the story for the reader. His homework takes a back seat as I’m sure yours will too while you read this novel ; only your excuse might not be because you’re caught between the cross-fire of a mythical dragon and a shadow creature...

Although the book starts off slow, it does pick up its pace as you follow Danny entering a world which he accidentally stumbled upon. Dragons, shadow shifters, Knights, secrets and magic, sounds good, right? Not quite.

His life isn’t as simple as it once was.

The characterisation throughout the novel was realistic; a credit to the author. The “bully” and people’s reactions. The relationships between friends before and after secrets were revealed. I think characterisation is key in a story like this, as the plot is set in a fantasy world, you need the characters to feel real to keep the story “believable” to an extent. I was impressed with how well and accurately the author managed to describe the life of a 13 yr old boy.

Seeing as I’m a girl, I found the realism useful to help me get into the character’s shoes easier and also found it interesting in general to see how a boy thinks. I also felt that the “first crush” element was handled well which is something that can quite easily ruin a book. Not here though, in this case it was a strength.

At first I felt like the novel was a little too young for me based on the character’s age and his actions but I think that is only because I had time to dwell on this at the start. Once the pace had picked up I managed to indulge myself in the story and just travel alongside Daniel throughout his Journey; cheering him on every step of the way.

As a rule I’m not a fantasy fan, nor am I a fan of 3rd person but the author had the ability to create a world and characters so believable that I actually found myself enjoying something which I would normally dislike; The cause... a great story? Characters? Author? Maybe a mix of all 3?

I think this book would appeal to both a male and female audience in the younger spectrum of YA readers though I’ve actually spoken to a few adults who enjoyed the novel themselves. A fun and original story for fantasy fans.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Shannon McRoberts on Aug. 24, 2012 :
This was a wonderful adventure and I can't wait to see the second book come out. When the author contacted me to do a book review I thought what the hay! This isn't usually the type of book I read as far as main character, age, etc. But wow....I could not put this down. It is very well written and obvious that the author takes care in writing. I was excited that this was the first review I got to do on my new kindle! It is worth every penny you spend on it. It is also suitable for young adults. No smut or extreme violence.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Eline Tack on Aug. 15, 2012 :
Not really certain about what to expect, I started reading "Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mageknight" by Daniel M. Fife. A few hours later I was already hooked and couldn't stop reading this intriguing YA novel about magic, dragons, knights, a school everybody wants to go to (if they dare) and recognizable characters.

Daniel M. Fife did a great job in describing the life of a common thirteen-year-old boy, Danny Firoth (yup, I think Daniel based the name of the main character upon his own name and told us the story about the boy he was in his dreams during childhood years). Danny deals with a very normal life and is not always happy about that. Normal life includes school, a loving but sometimes annoying mother, the girl he thinks he can’t have as a girlfriend and some bullies. This rather quiet life changes abruptly when Danny discovers some strange powers he seems to have. Is he dreaming? Is he mixing up reality with the card game he likes to play: Knights?

Danny and his friends discover this game, Knights, is a lot more than just a card game where you need to defeat the others with the figures on you cards. The game contains three “camps”, Light-Gray-Dark, with fantasy creatures. The purpose is to defeat the other players with the creatures on your cards (and the abilities/weapons they have). The boys discover that this ‘game’ exists in reality, that they can be part of it and that losing from the opponent isn’t that innocent in the real world of Light-Gray-Dark… The biggest surprise for Danny isn’t the fact that he owns mysterious powers but the fact that Sabrina, the girl he really likes, knew about these things and this parallel world all along. She’s the one that takes Danny and his friends to the White Rock Academy of Illumination, a school where many more things are about to be discovered! (And I’m not going to spoil it for you… You have to read it yourself!)

Although I’m usually not into fantasy, I must admit a really liked this book! After two pages I needed to know what happened further and I kept on reading. “Light and Dark” is a book that can be turned into a movie without real problems. The author is good in describing things integral (what I appreciate in a book for YA because it gives them a lot of freedom to imagine their own world, but at the same time gives them a foothold) and gives us a story that’s already like a movie in our head with great special effects. Also the book has the ability to have successors. I think lots of readers will be waiting the sequel with impatience ;)

Some links :)
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6443456.Daniel_M_Fife
https://www.facebook.com/Light.Dark.Series
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Brian Wilkerson on Aug. 11, 2012 :
A Trickster Eric Novels review

Daniel Fife asked me to review his first book "Light Dark The Awakening of MageKnight". The protagonist, Danny is a normal student when he stumbles into a battle between a white dragon and a black shadow creature. The next day he finds out the dragon was the pretty new transfer student he has a crush on. She draws him into her world, where she is a squire for the Order of the Light and fights the shadow monsters who seek to destroy the world.

It is not the most original of plots. Anyone with a drop of genre savvy could predict every plot twist in the story. Except for one which, appropriately, is the most important one of all. Even without that it is still a enjoyable read.

1.This isn't some half-assed cliche storm. Mr.Fife put thought into the life of the knight' community to create the full picture. The knight's tailor, for instance, has zilch to do with the plot but he is necessary for the setting. Someone's got to make the squire robes, after all, and someone needs to tailor them to fit the flabby rookies as they develop into lean knights. There's also a scene about elfin tea practices which serves as character development in addition to world building. Its one of my favorite scenes.

2. Another one of my favorite scenes is the squire duel. Mr. Fife knows how to write an action scene. He also knows how to give his hero a superpower without it turning in a gamebreaker or introducing a kryptonite factor to negate it entirely. All it does is level the playing field against stronger and more experienced opponents.

3. The transition from event to event is smooth and believable. Thus the pacing is enjoyable, except for one part which I will get to later. Mr.Fife does not rely on idiot balls to move the plot along. Instead it is powered by the agendas of many different people contrasting and meshing.

4. The character development is great, or more appropriately, it becomes great after the characters arrive at the knight school. Once he focuses on the main characters (instead of introducing new ones every chapter) they all develop distinct and likable personalities.


However, this book has its flaws. There are three of them and they're all in the first arc.

1. Pacing. Dragons don't show up until the fourth chapter (p. 18) and that is a brief moment. Answers and genuine world building don't come for another 7 pages. In-universe the pacing is also off. The story begins on the first day of school, then skips weeks to the first shadow, then a sixth month skip where apparently both the good and bad guys sit on their butts and do nothing, and finally a skip to the end of school. In 45 pages, only two shadows show up and Danny is just beginning to find out about them. If this were a TV show, all of that would be dealt with in the first episode, second tops.




I have a suspicion that Mr.Fife wanted to make Danny as identifiable as possible and this is the reason for the odd pacing. 'first day of the school year', 'bullies' 'crushes', etc. These had to happen in school for the reader to slot themselves into Danny's place. Once this is established, Mr.Fife has to make month long jumps where nothing happens to put his characters into a 'summer knight training school' where the plot actually begins.

2. Characters. There are too many characters introduced early on that are not important. Its a waste of space and a drag on the storyline. Their characterization is also a problem. No one has a solid character in the first arc; not Danny, not Sabrina, no one. I referred to them as 'average guy' and 'pretty new girl' until they arrived at the knight academy. Danny's friends are even worse; they're names with a biography attached. All of them are better characterized by the end but that doesn't justify their poor characterization at the start.

3. Construction. Normally I praise world building but only if it serves to build the full picture. What Mr.Fife did in the first arc violates the Law of Conservation of Detail. He introduces half a dozen characters in the first arc who will never be seen or heard from again for the first of it; builds a school environment; starts the story on the first day of school when the meat of the story takes place when its over. Its a horrible idea to build this setting and then throw it away.


Based on the first arc (the first 45 or so pages) I'd give this book an F. Based on the remaining 150 or so pages, I'd give this book an A. I can't reconcile the 'normal school' writing with the 'knight school writing'. Its like they were written by different people. Anyway, I enjoyed reading it and if there is a second book in the series I would be interested in reading it.


For more information see its work page on TVTropes.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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