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on Aug. 27, 2012 :
Great characters with great writing. Join Darl in his coming of age story and an adventure of a lifetime.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on July 17, 2012 :
Franz McLaren’s new book is about a wonderful 16-year-old named Darl, who doesn’t understand the world he lives in. Darl is different than the other villagers, and for some reason he brings wrath upon his head and gets beaten by his father for the slightest infraction.
One day Darl is sent on an errand, where he has his first taste of freedom and encounters a wizard who changes his life. He hears about the Captain--a man who’s presumably his real father--and is thrown into a world he never thought possible. Thus begins an unforgettable journey into a realm of magical creatures and perilous adventures.
Underneath this fantastic tale is a stirring coming-of-age story. “Darl and the Spider Cult” begins with the stunning image of Darl’s father stripping the bark off a tree with a bullwhip. “When he was especially angry, his Dad would look at the whip then at Darl. Each time Darl felt his stomach tighten into a rock ball.”
I felt immediate empathy for Darl and his dilemma, and I was swept along on his adventures, at the core of which was finding his identity amidst a struggle for survival.
The chapters are short and punchy, the pace is fast and the pages are full of dazzling action, but most importantly the main character will win you over with his pluck and personality. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on July 10, 2012 :
Eight Hairy Arachnid Legs WAAAYY Up!
Darl doesn't fit. No matter how hard he tries, he just doesn't belong in the world in which he grew up. He doesn't even look like his parents. They're blond, light-eyed, and slight in build, just like most everyone else in his small farming community. Darl is dark eyed, dark haired and massively built. If he speaks, he's beaten. If he stays silent, he's beaten. He tries to work hard and stay out of the way, but no matter what he does or doesn't do, he's unaccepted and friendless.
Until one day when the sixteen-year-old outcast is sent on an errand, and for the first time in his life, he's allowed outside of his parents' judgemental sight. Darl stops to eat his meager lunch and slips into a nap. When he awakens he encounters flying pirates, mountainous sand dunes, starvation and thirst, a magical race of arachnids, marauders, raiders, and wizards. Will Darl survive the perils of this new world in which he was thrown? Where is he and who can he trust? Why does he seem to fit so much better in this new strange world where he must fight to survive than he ever did back at home on the farm? Who is he really?
Franz McLaren is a master at fantasy adventures that sweep the reader right up and into the eye of his make-believe storms. Buckle up, grab a sword, and avoid the grassy areas--McLaren is about to take you on one heck of a journey with his newest hero, Darl!
(reviewed the day of purchase)