Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

I am pleased to announce Book For Youth’s first official book release. From the author of The Cat That Made Nothing Something Again comes a new and magical journey.

Story overview:
As the son of a great wizard, Traphis doesn’t understand why his mother and father have forbidden him from learning magic. Raised to tend fields, he often dreams of a bigger life–one in which he performs in front of an awe-stricken crowd.

A year after the death of his father, Traphis, now fifteen years old, spies his mother tossing a collection of magic books into a nearby creek. Unbeknownst to her, he is able to rescue them and read their contents hidden within his secret cave.

Opening himself up to the world of magic, a dark presence surfaces–one which has been seeking to track him down for years. Hidden secrets of the past unfold as Traphis joins with other trainees in hopes of learning the skills necessary to survive. The more answers he uncovers the more mysteries arise, sending him down the path of a true wizard, which is far more dangerous than he ever imagined.

My thoughts:
Ever since I can remember, I have loved the Narnia series, which was read to me at a young age. As I grew older, I was surprised at how little Christian Fantasies there were out there; the Christian bookstores had little to nothing of them. It was disappointing to say the least. Traphis, with a subtle/non-preachy Christian angle, targets fans of series like Narnia as well as secular ones like Harry Potter and Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle). It is not meant to compete with them, but to provide a new fantastical world in which youths can follow and come back holding onto messages of faith, hope, forgiveness, and redemption.

Things to consider:
Since this was written to appeal to teens and young adults, there are a few places that may be considered disturbing to younger children. No foul language or sexual situations, but there is action violence–done to enhance the story rather than shock the reader with sensationalism. Nothing inappropriate for the right ages (preteen and older). This should appeal to boys and girls; there are strong characters representing both genders–though the protagonist is a boy.

Opportunities for discussion:
Forgiveness is one of the leading elements in this story. Traphis’ need to forgive God for taking his father away, and his need to forgive his own failures. Skinny Jack learns he needs to forgive his abusive father, and Falin offers grace to his brother who rebelled many years ago. One thing this story also shows is the difference between forgiving and forgetting. Forgiveness is about releasing the power for vengeance and setting it into the hands of God, but one should not forget the past; we can learn from it and grow stronger as a result. Christians are not blind, they just learn to see with different eyes.

Availability:
Traphis: A Wizard’s Tale is currently available on the Kindle and Nook for $2.99 (which is a good price for a 155k word novel). If you don’t have either a Kindle or Nook eReader, don’t worry, you can download the story and read it on your computer, smartphone, or tablet using the free Kindle software.

Purchase the eBook at:
Amazon (Kindle – $2.99)
Barnes & Noble (Nook – $2.99)

What is an eBook? It’s an electronic book format that can be read on digital devices, removing the need for paper. Learn more about the story at: http://awizardstale.com.

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Since I greatly enjoyed reading Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy, I was excited to see that Heroes of the Valley was his latest book.

Well, maybe not latest latest, as it seems he’s coming out with a fourth Bartimaeus novel (The Ring of Solomon), but that has yet to be released (release date: November 2, 2010). So in the meantime, let me tell you about Halli Sveinsson.

Story overview:
A world once ruled by heroes is now the peaceful home of fifteen-year-old Halli Sveinsson. The heroes now long dead, their stories still resonate amongst the Twelve Houses, which have control over the valley. Of course, each house places their founder as the top hero in the tales, but one thing remains consistent: they all worked together to rid the valley of the evil Trows.

A short, stumpy boy, Halli finds himself getting into trouble more often than not. His mischief isn’t appreciated by his older brother nor his mother and father, but there is one person who motivates Halli to aim towards the level of the founders. His uncle. One evening when his uncle ends up having too much to drink, he offends one of the other Houses and ultimately is killed in the process.

On a quest to avenge his uncle’s honor, Halli seeks to bring justice to the murders. In his journey he finds that his childhood tales were not all they were made out to be, and in the process he ends up causing trouble to his House, which leads him to search for a way to restore the order.

My thoughts:

Where I don’t rate this as high as Bartimaeus, I did enjoy the tale. A little slower starting than I like, but overall well worth the read. As always the characters are sarcastic and witty, and I like Stroud’s ability to have them interact in a believable manner. I saw a little bit of Kitty in Halli’s female companion.

Things to consider:

It’s a little crude in places, but overall, nothing I’d consider inappropriate. I’d age rate this preteen +. Good for both girls and boys.

Opportunities for discussion:

The word boundaries comes to mind. To keep the Trows out of the valley, the heroes of old put up boundaries to prevent them from getting in. However, the boundaries also kept all the people from getting out. No one but Halli and his friend seem to question this. And when they did, they found that the heroes were not all they were cracked up to be. Children need boundaries to protect them. However, teaching them to mindlessly following boundaries is not a good idea. Ask your children if they know the difference between good boundaries and bad ones. If they say a good one is bad, be sure to explain, in full detail, why they are in place.

In the world of fantasy comes another series targeted towards youth. First published in 2002, the Pendragon Series totaled ten books; the last one published March of last year (2009).

Story overview:

14-year-old Bobby Pendragon is one of those boys who is skilled in sports, outgoing, and known well among his peers. His life is what some would call a boy’s dream. Not only is he the top star of his school’s basketball team, but he recently received a kiss from the beautiful Courtney Chetwynde.

Mark Dimond on the other hand is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s nerdy and gets picked on, but remains one of Bobby’s best and closest friends. A friendship that gets put to the test when one day, Bobby disappears. Not only did Bobby miss the basketball semi-finals, but his entire family vanished. Including his house and family pet.

Mark receives a mysterious ring which teleports a journal, written by Bobby, from an entirely different world. It entails Bobby’s adventure into this world with his uncle, Press. Bobby tells Mark that he has to help his uncle escape the clutched of a traveler named Saint Dane, who captured the man and sentenced him to die. In the process Bobby learns that he too is a traveler and with the help of some unlikely allies, the boy seeks to save both his uncle and the territory which is threatened with war.

My thoughts
:

There is a good balance of humor, action, and originality. I particularly liked the modern and realistic way the main character thinks; nothing seemed forced or out of place. The way the author bounced back and forth with POV (First person and Third person) was interesting too. I recommend reading this one if you get a chance.

Things to consider:

There are no sexual situations or cursing. There is some action violence with a few gory descriptions, but nothing overly offensive. There was a comment about David killing Goliath as being, “just a story,” but keep in mind that is coming from the head of the main character; which is just how he thinks. There is also mention of something called Halla (sounds like a play on the name Allah), which is supposedly the power behind all life. Not sure where the author intends to go with this, but keep in mind, I only read the first book in the series of ten. I would suggest this for teens; both boys and girls.

Opportunities for discussion:

One of the themes here is that power corrupts even the purest of hearts. The village of oppressed minors showed what happens when the balance of power shifts from one direction to another. This is true to life. Humans of all social standings have the same potential of abuse towards their fellow man; the difference is often lack of opportunity, not the presence of goodness. When given the choice, men take advantage of their position without thought of those who are affected by it. Remind your children that they need to always remember where they came from, and never take advantage of others, regardless of opportunity to do so.