fantasy, romance, teen

Destined for Doon

Destined for Doon
Author: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Fantasy / Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-74233-3
Pages: 352
Price: $17.99

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In this sequel to Doon, Kenna has returned to her life in the theater, and now she’s missing the prince she left behind. She has only now realized that they had a true Calling, and Duncan is her soul mate. So when he suddenly arrives to bring her back to Doon, she heads back willingly, hoping for another chance. But Duncan is harboring illusions that Kenna is already spoken for, and won’t listen to any explanations.

Meanwhile, Veronica is attempting to stop the witch’s evil spell, which has created a zombie fungus that threatens to overtake Doon. She and Kenna have defeated the witch once before, and she needs her best friend’s help once again. Can Kenna help Vee save Doon, and can she salvage the relationship she once had with Duncan, before time runs out?

Filled with drama and suspense, Destined for Doon picks up right where Doon left off. Complicated relationships take center stage, as both Vee and Kenna struggle to make things right with their Doonian princes. And of course, good must triumph over evil. My one complaint about this story is that it ends in a cliff-hanger that felt completely out of place. But otherwise, this is a great read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy, romance, teen

Doon

Doon
Authors: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink Books
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
ISBN: 978-0-310-74230-2
Pages: 400
Price: $17.99

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When Veronica begins seeing visions of a kilt-wearing teen boy, she wonders if she’s imagining him. But when he follows her to Scotland, she’s sure there must be something more to his appearances. After being transported to the magical kingdom of Doon, she finally comes face to face with him – as the formidable Prince Jamie. But after practically begging Veronica to come to him, he now rejects her, declaring that she and her best friend, McKenna, are in cahoots with the witch.

Thanks to the intervention of Jamie’s brother, Duncan, who is sweet on McKenna, the girls avoid a long stay in the dungeon, and begin to explore this new world. They have only a short time before they will be able to go back home, and they try to make the most of it. But will they both find true love before they’re forced to leave?

Doon is inspired by Brigadoon, and is more romance than fantasy. Although this story takes place in a magical world, it feels more down-to-earth as the girls discover modern plumbing and pizzas. Although Veronica and Jamie have a turbulent relationship, one hopes they can sort through their differences and work things out. But the reader may very well end up swooning over Duncan’s sweet and tender ways with McKenna. This is an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy

The Crystal Scepter

The Crystal Scepter
Author: C.S. Lakin
Publisher: Living Ink Books
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-089957-893-4
Pages: 376
Price: $14.99

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Pythius, the wicked young king of Paladya, is looking for immortality. When he hears of the crystal scepter which grants the kings of Elysiel an unusually long life, he makes up his mind that he has to have it. But Pythius has no idea of the terrible consequences of his actions.

In a small fishing village, a boy named Perthin grows up, unaware of the true identity of his parents. Through a prophesy, Perthin’s destiny is inextricably linked to Pythius. Seeking to save his village from a sea monster, he sets off on a hero’s journey.

Pythius is an evil man, and much of the story is told from his perspective. This made it difficult for me to get through the opening chapters, since I find it hard to relate to villains. I was also surprised at how simple Perthin’s quest appeared to be. A journey that took Pythius months was accomplished in moments by Perthin, and with so much support that he was in almost no danger. Perthin and the reader know the outcome is certain.

Good wins out over evil, and all loose ends are tied up nicely, with a “feel-good” ending. But I personally would have enjoyed The Crystal Scepter more if Pythius was a smaller character and Perthin faced more danger.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy, teen

Aquifer

Aquifer
Author: Jonathan Friesen
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-310-73182-5
Pages: 304
Price: $15.99

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The year is 2250 and fresh water is scarce. Those above ground rely on a subterranean species of Water Rats to provide fresh water, when the annual contract is renewed by the Deliverer. Luca, now sixteen years old, is heir to the Deliverer’s position, and when his father suddenly goes missing, must step in to try to make things right again.

But not all is as it seems, and when Luca descends below, he finds out there is much more to the story of the annual exchange than he ever bargained for. His world turns upside down, and the position he is in turns sinister. Can Luca fix things before it’s too late?

Aquifer introduces some really great characters. Although only sixteen, Luca is mature beyond his years, with an admirable sense of responsibility. Various supporting characters are also strong and well-developed. There is a tiny hint of a Christian message in this story, with Wishers who gather to pray, and a Voice that speaks to Luca. A slow start builds to a crescendo, capturing the reader in a race to the conclusion. But there is also quite a bit of violence and darkness to this story, which ends in a disappointing way that leaves too much to the imagination.

Warning: Rated mature for violence

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, fantasy

The Reluctant Dragon (75th Anniversary Edition)

The Reluctant Dragon
Author: Kenneth Grahame
Illustrator: Ernest H. Shepard
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2820-5 (hardcover),  978-0-8234-2821-2 (paperback)
Price: $16.95 (hardcover),  $6.95 (paperback)

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A Boy discovers a dragon is living in the cave when his father comes home upset by such a notion. Not being afraid (because he has read all about dragons), the Boy makes his acquaintance, and the two become fast friends. The Boy likes to read, and the dragon is a poet and story-teller. But the town folk are not happy to have a dragon – even a mild-tempered one – living in such close proximity, and they bring in St. George to slay him.

The Boy must step in and right the situation before it gets out of control. Acting as mediator and organizer, he brings the dragon and St. George together before the battle to draw up a plan. And in the end, everyone, including the dragon, is happy with the results.

The Reluctant Dragon was first published in 1938. This unusual story is part fantasy and part humor, in the unusual interactions between man and beast. Children will cheer at the Boy’s cleverness in saving a situation that could easily have gone horribly wrong. This 75th anniversary edition brings this timeless classic back into print for all ages to enjoy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy, teen

The Time Fetch

The Time Fetch
Author: Amy Herrick
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1-61620-220-0
Pages: 320
Price: $16.95

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Mistaking the Time Fetch as an ordinary rock, Edward picks it up to bring to science class and wakes it from its slumber. Its purpose is to send out foragers to gather those moments that won’t be missed, to be redistributed to others in the Great Web. But now that the Fetch has been roused prematurely, it creates chaos in the foragers’ indiscriminate theft of time.

Only four classmates have touched the Fetch, and now they have knowledge and understanding of what’s going on around them that no one else seems to have. Danton, Edward, Brigit and Feenix have to work together to save the universe from the out-of-control foragers. But first they will need to outwit some witches, the Unraveler, and beasts intent on stopping them.

The Time Fetch is one of the most enjoyable young adult books I’ve read. The story is fast-paced and absorbing, and I had a hard time putting this book down. The magic and fantasy, as well as the unlikely partnership of these four very different classmates, is on par with the Harry Potter series. It was great watching them make the decision to work together, putting aside their differences, and becoming friends in the process. I highly recommend this book for all ages.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy, teen

Dolores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher

Dolores Fletcher Cobweb Catcher
Author: Kathryn Rose Jacoby
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-1478289906
Pages: 126
Price: $5.95

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After graduating from flight school, sixteen year-old Dolores Fletcher is now ready to face her life’s mission. As official Cobweb Catcher, she will rid homes of the giant spiders nesting there. Coming from a long line of Cobweb Catchers, she is proud of her heritage and eager to begin her work. But sometimes things aren’t what they seem.

After her aunt has left for Florida, Dolores finds an outcast ghost inhabiting her home. Since he has nowhere else to go and she’s lonely, she asks him to stay. Then her great-great-great-grandmother’s ghost joins him. Triple-G, as Dolores calls her, fills her in on the family history, encouraging her to follow in her footsteps. Dolores is very good at what she does, and soon a new problem develops, forcing her to decide on her future as Cobweb Catcher.

Dolores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher is a cute fantasy of a young witch trying to find her own way in the world. She is an endearing girl that readers will cheer for. I would have enjoyed a little more character development, which would have been helpful in understanding the motives behind some of their actions. But overall, this is a nice story with a happy ending.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy

The Unraveling of Wentwater


Author: C.S. Lakin
Publisher: Living Ink Books
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-089957-892-7
Pages: 352
Price: $14.99

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A long time ago, a prophecy was uttered at a baby-naming ceremony. This babe would be the unraveling of Wentwater. Now an adult, Teralyn, the girl of the prophecy, only wants to play her music with Fromer, the man she loves. But when the prophecy suddenly comes true, Teralyn is the only one who can put Wentwater back together again.

Words have power, and when words start disappearing from Wentwater, disaster results. Jealousy leads to recklessness, and things quickly get out of control. Will Fromer be lost to Teralyn forever? One man holds the key to Fromer’s return, but will he come to his senses and allow him back?

In this fourth book in The Gates of Heaven series, it appears that the forces of evil are too strong for Wentwater. But ultimately, good triumphs over evil, and all is restored to normal. Although written as fantasy, one can clearly see the powers of good and evil at work in our own lives. Good can triumph, but only if we let it.

See also The Land of Darkness, book three in The Gates of Heaven. I highly recommend this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy

The Ruins of Noe


Author: Danika Dinsmore
Publisher: Hydra House
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-9848301-2-1
Pages: 266
Price: $12.95

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In this sequel to Brigitta of the White Forest, Brigitta must once again travel back to the land of the Ancients. Terrible trouble faces the faeries of the White Forest, and the prophecy states that Brigitta must be the one who restores the balance.

Traveling with the High Priestess, Ondelle, she finds herself caught up in a war between two faerie populations. As outsiders, they are viewed with hostility, which puts their lives in jeopardy. Brigitta must rely on her instincts to determine who she can trust and how to extract herself from her dire predicament.

I loved the first book in this series, but found that the ending to this story left me unsatisfied. Too many questions remained to be answered, and there is no sense of closure. Brigitta and Ondelle, along with the other beings they encounter, are magical, and the fantasy captures the imagination. One truly feels transported to another realm in reading this story. I hope the answers will come in the third volume of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

fantasy

The Land of Darkness


Author: C.S. Lakin
Publisher: Living Ink Books
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-89957-891-0
Pages: 272
Price: $14.99

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Callen, a woodworking apprentice, comes across an old drawing of a bridge with magnificent scroll work. He becomes obsessed with finding this bridge. Jadiel, a twelve year-old girl, needs to find a special tree for her wicked stepmother, or else her father will die. While they both set out on their own individual journeys, fortune unites them, and they hunt for the tree together.

As they search, they meet interesting people who help them on their quest. But not all who cross their paths have good intentions, and they discover great evil on their journey. Is the land of darkness a place to be feared, or is it true that the darkness lies only in their hearts?

In this marvelous fantasy, both Callen and Jadiel must challenge their existing beliefs and decide who and what to trust. As the quest turns more dangerous, they must forge on, putting all thoughts of personal safety aside. But, ultimately, good triumphs over evil for a satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend The Land of Darkness.

Reviewer: Alice Berger