From my book blog, Melissa's Bookshelf:
Because I enjoy fantasy novels I was excited when I was contacted by Valor Publishing to be a part of the blog tour for The Sapphire Flute. Having just finished reading the book, I am even more thrilled to bring you my review, because I absolutely loved this first publication by Karen E. Hoover. (Today is the big release day, as a matter of fact!) Even more exciting (to me) is that this is the first of SEVEN books in the series. I truly think this book has the makings of a classic.
This is one of those books I can picture myself reading when I was much younger--I think it would be among my most-loved books of my pre-teen and teen years, along with A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Oval Amulet by Lucy Cullyford Babbitt, and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. Perhaps it may be presumptuous of me to rate The Sapphire Flute so highly (although I imagine The Oval Amulet is not so well known by many), I do so because this story resonated with me the same way those did. I can see my self re-reading this book many times down the road, as I have the titles I mentioned above.
Why did I love this book so much? Firstly, I enjoyed the characters--they are colorful and presented in great detail. Oh, and another bonus? Female characters are center stage--on both sides of the story, good vs. evil. I also enjoyed Hoover's creativity and ability to depict yet another world in the fantasy realm, full of magic and fantastic creatures. Any time that a fantasy writer can make a story feel new, you have to figure you are reading a quality writer. Additionally, I just thought the book was really well-written... It's vividly descriptive without being wordy and paced so well that you just don't want to put the book down. Some of the dialogue may not quite be true to high fantasy, but as this is a YA novel, I don't feel that hurt the book. I loved moving back and forth between Ember and Kayla's stories, and while the end of The Sapphire Flute is certainly satisfying, I can't say I am looking forward to having to wait for the second book now--I'm ready to dive back into the world of Rasann!
I truly think that The Sapphire Flute is a perfect book to introduce a younger reader to the fantasy genre. I know I would have loved this when I was younger and I hope to be able to hand it down to my daughter one day.
When Karen Hoover contacted me and asked me to review her second book in the Wolfchild Saga I simply couldn't say no. I had been really, REALLY looking forward to continuing this series ever since reading The Sapphire Flute. In fact, some of you might recall just how much I loved that book. I made some pretty bold assertions, likening Hoover to some timeless, favorite authors -- Madeleine L'Engle, Lloyd Alexander... I stand behind those comments 100%.
So often it seems that second books in series don't quite live up to the debuts. Thankfully, this is not remotely the case with The Armor of Light. This book is every bit as good as The Sapphire Flute, and in fact is quite possibly even better! To put it simply, these stories are those that I have always dreamed of being able to write. Not only that, I sincerely wish these books had been around when I was a young reader, just so I could have that much more time to re-read them over the years. I can't wait for my own daughter to read these books down the road and enjoy them as much as I have.
Hoover has made fantasy and adventure new again for me. I am completely captivated by the quest of the Chosen Ones (of whom we've only met a few) to unite the magical keystones and save their world. There is a wide array of characters on both the side of good and that of evil who are wonderfully developed. Relationships between many of the characters are molded, deepened, and in some heartbreaking cases, torn apart. With this second book the pieces of the puzzle really begin to come together, as we follow Ember's and Kayla's separate adventures that are destined to join as one. I truly cannot wait to see what Hoover's next book in the series brings to the story as we discover the next keystone and Chosen One.
I urge you to give Hoover's Wolfchild Saga a try if you enjoy adventure and fantasy. The story is so engaging that I believe you'll find yourself totally immersed in the world that Hoover has created. As I read her books, I had a vivid picture of the scenes taking place and the story still sits with me long after finishing The Armor of Light.