Posted by Venus Bradley on Saturday, June 9, 2012
Labels: intermediate book review
Every year, as a test of manhood, the young boys of Quendel are sent on a quest by the Wizard Zyll. Marcus, an orphan and wizard in training, apprentice to Zyll, is allowed to go on the quest. He and the other boys must return with the Rock of Ivanore, but none of the boys knows what, where, or how to obtain this rock. During their quest they run across conspiracies that threaten kingdoms, secrets that devastated families, and Marcus finds that a key may be the very thing that can unlock magic.
Although there is nothing original about this novel, full of the usual fantasy tropes of quests, magic, wizards, betrayal, and fighting, I was refreshed anyway. It was nice to read a good old quest fantasy that didn't pretend to be anything but what it was. So many fantasies these days try to hide the fact that they are a quest story, refusing to use the word or even trying to name it something else in order to convince its readers that it is in fact something new and different. I don't think there is anything wrong with a quest story though and really embraced the idea of it.
The pace at the beginning was a little slow, but once the story really began, it was quick and to the point, always leading the reader one step closer to the truth. There were some things that were a little predictable as in the truth concerning two of the boys in the story, but that may have come from being too familiar with this type of story. For young readers, especially if this is one of their first introductions to a quest fantasy, will find it entertaining and surprising. There were a race of creatures that were enslaved that for some reason helped fight for the kingdom, which made little sense to me and felt very much like the slaves either had a very bad case of Stockholm syndrome or were confused as to what freedom was. I'm pretty sure when your shackles are removed and someone gives you a weapon, you can do whatever you want, including walking away from the people who have enslaved you. There were good reasons for them to help of course, but it was the one place where the logic didn't quite pan for me.
On the whole an entertaining middle grade fantasy which is nothing more or less than what it claims to be--an adventure.