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When he was a very young man, Tom Xavier got lucky. Through some twists and turns, he had the chance to co-found an international performing arts camp for young artists. In his role as one of the camp's two founders and directors, he watched as young people aged 9-13 from countries worldwide grew into different people as a result of their rich and rewarding experiences with peers from other cultures.
When Mr. Xavier started thinking about writing, he knew he wanted to write stories infused with the mystery, excitement, and wonder of cultural discovery. It was in his blood, so to speak, from his years of working with young people from countries all across the globe.
As a writer, Tom Xavier has three goals. One is to invent and detail rich cultures that will excite imaginations. Another is to write compelling stories that will entertain and enlighten. The third is to do something completely different. Mr. Xavier believes that technology offers an untapped potential in eBooks to create for readers of all ages a series of experiences that go beyond the pages of the eBook itself.
This is why he created Eshmagick Enterprises. Eshmagick isn't really a company. It's more a collaborative effort by talented artists who are interested in exploring the medium of the internet to take eBooks in new directions. The EshTeam does this by linking the eBook to outside web pages where one can experience and enjoy wondrous illustrations, colorful animations, games, puzzles, and other rich materials. Eshmagick likes to call its readers Storyers and its goal is to offer them something as exciting and rewarding as one's first experience encountering all the beauty and richness of a new and unfamiliar culture.
Right now, Tom Xavier is excited to offer Eshmagick's first eBook and he can hardly wait to start the Eshmagick Team on its next project! DARK CURSES AND FAERIE DREAMS is pure fantasy with a twist of modern technology for all you fantasy buffs out there. Xavier's next eBook, TYME BENDERS, will mix fantasy and sci-fi in ways that are out of this world.
on May 06, 2013 :
This book is YA fantasy-adventure novel set in the imaginary land of Cowgrass, where dwarf-like creatures called Woodsy Trolls inhabit the hills and forests. The story opens with our precocious heroine Duggan McDuggan, barely eight years old, pressing an old Storyteller to tell her about the ancient, long forgotten, and sometimes forbidden customs of the Woodsy Troll and the enchanted land of Eshmagick. Even at an early age, Duggan is a history buff, fascinated by the old ways of her people. Flash-forward six years later, Duggan and her pals Lambrell and Zagger are drawing close to their passage into adulthood (in troll-world, age fourteen). They want to engage in a big quest by capturing a faerie that would guide them in their adventure trek into the darkest forest of Esmagick (like the ancient toddles used to do as a rite of passage). But there is a catch: capturing a faerie is forbidden in Woodsy Troll land, an act that would bring a terrible curse upon those who did it. But Duggan and her friends are Toddles, and like any other tweeny, sometimes engage in daring, stupid deeds (remember when we were kids and did all those dumb things?) So the three friends capture a faerie and a curse is immediately brought upon their families. As their parents and siblings slowly turn to stone, the three must now travel far and wide to find a way to reverse the curse. And this, in essence, is their big quest, ie. their rite of passage into adulthood like the Woodsy Trolls used to do in ancient times. In their quest, they are placed in a variety of dicey situations, engaging them with an assortment of amazing beings from the destructive humans of Devonwicke who almost mobbed them to death, to Wood-wraiths, Buzz-faeries, wizards, and witches, etc.
The storytelling is engaging and kept this reader turning the pages. The pacing is good and the fantastic worlds the author took us to are quite imaginative. This is the reason we read fantasy novels, right? I loved Duggan's narrative voice which is YA perfect, sympathetic, and relatable. In line with this, the author did a terrific job creating the world of the Woodsy Troll and its vernacular. I liked the Woodsy Troll back stories as much as the quest itself as they build upon the characters of Duggan and friends.
The only criticisms I have is the authorial intrusion of having the reader click on links that supposedly enhance the reader's experience, which annoyingly took me out of the story. The book stands on its own without this gimmick. At times, Duggan is much too passive and often lets Zagger take the lead. Duggan is the protagonist. Ideas to advance their journey and the leadership role should come from her, not Zagger. After all, it is her story we are following. Overall, a good book both young adults and adults will enjoy. Four bold stars for this YA fantasy-adventure novel.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)