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Born in Eugene, OR and a grad of the UofO, I still made a success of my life by constantly changing jobs and cashing in miserable 401K earnings. Finally, I decided to hell with it. If I'm going to be poor, I might as well be a writer. So, I R 1.
Maria E. Schneider
on Sep. 22, 2009 :
This book is well-edited and well-formatted. It's a cross between YA and a children's story. The concepts are such that it's YA, but things are simplified in some places, and thus it reads for an even younger age (8-9?). Some of the problems presented are quite simple as are the solutions. (Do we accept a girl even though she is a girl, do we trust our friends, do we forgive them and so on.) In some cases, challenges are solved so quickly it is more what I would expect from a young children's book. For example, the children decide to go on a quest--to achieve this they have to make up excuses or lies. This part would have been more believable had they simply run away because some of the scenes didn't ring true at all (especially that of Parvis. I don't believe with his background he would have taken the route he did--nor do I believe his father would have allowed it).
The descriptions and mythology are handled quite well and in good detail. The unusual characters and the various legends were a big strength of this book. However, it is here that I am not certain a younger child would remain engaged because some of the detail spans several pages. The world that is created is quite magical and intriguing in several scenes.
The children in this story reminded me a bit of the Boxcar Children with a spiritual/mental challenge. Each child is given a challenge in the book, but there is not as much depth here as I would expect with a YA. In a normal quest, you would expect a YA to face a challenge that had grown throughout their lives--so perhaps a person who had always been tempted by gold/riches, would have to face that down. This story did not have such a background with every character. When it did have "past doubts" it was not as well-developed as I would have liked. I would have liked to see the self-doubts early--and then have to see them faced down.
Although I don't know quite where this story fits age-wise, it is well-written and mildly entertaining. The pace could have been faster, especially in the beginning. The early scenes were used to "setup" the story and the personalities. While done well, I think it could have been done more effectively during the journey. They served a purpose, but were slow.
I think the characterization was good for a children/YA, but not good enough to make the cross to adult (some YA are very good crossovers into adult; this is more a crossover into childrens).
The most interesting thing about the book is the legends and unusual beasts; these were imaginative and fleshed out well.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)