[Book Review] Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Photo Credit: goodreads.com

Ender’s Game


Orson Scott Card

Blurb (from www.hatrack.com):

“Andrew “Ender” Wiggin
thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in
something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may
be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy
seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender
into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy
him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers
has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has
been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine,
are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was
too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for
violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But
they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power.
Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s
abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and
elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and
identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin
working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at
all if their brother Ender fails.
Newsday said of this novel “Card has done strong work before, but this could
be the book to break him out of the pack.” It was. Ender’s Game took the sf
world by storm, sweeping the awards. It won both the Hugo and Nebula, and rose
to the top of national bestseller lists.
Copyright © 1985 Orson Scott Card”

My Review:

Wow. I knew this book was sci-fi when I started reading it, but I didn’t have a clue as to what it contained. It is very heavy. It is full of action and violence, with war, and with some deep intellectual thinking. As a mother I hated it. I hated it because I have a six-year-old, and I can not imagine letting someone take her away to space to train for war. I can’t imagine being ok with never seeing her again. And then seeing how they treated him at six years old. I know these are very smart children, but they are still children, and I think they should be treated as such. To allow these children to treat each other this way, in fact to engineer it to happen that way, is awful. They had so much stress and responsibility at such a young age that it made me sick.

As a reader, though, I did like this book. It is very well crafted and written. Besides the higher up officials that speak at the beginning of certain chapters, in a different font, the character development is really good. I felt like I knew Ender inside and out, and I remember from my own childhood meeting people like his friends in the book. I never really knew who to trust as his friends, but I think that is part of the draw of the book. The higher up officials become more well-known as the book goes on, and they, too, begin to come to light. There are many twists and turns that I didn’t expect in the book, and it definitely made me want to keep reading. It was a bit of a slow read for me, but it wasn’t for lack of motivation, it just isn’t an easy read. There are military terms and physics, and things like that, that require thought before going on. I was very surprised by the twist at the end. You know me, though, I tend to just read and not really think about what will come next. The very end with the giant (you’ll understand when you have read it), was a bit of a stretch for me, but I guess it was fitting.

There is a lot of language in this book. I was hoping it would be good for my ten-year-old, but no such luck. Along with the language there is a lot of bullying and violence and death (it is a war). Also, I don’t think he would understand it at this point anyway. He’d like the video game aspect of it, but wouldn’t understand the physics or the intellectual arguments. Mr. Card correctly predicted many things, and it was kind of creepy. For example, the nets on the computers and the portable desks that had something similar to email on them (today’s tablets). Crazy! I do recommend this book with the previous warnings. It is geared more toward boys, I think, but I’m glad I read it. I don’t know if I’ll read the other books in the series, though.

Rating: PG-13+ (Language, violence, death, war)

Age Recommendation: 14 or 15 and up. I’d suggest parents read it first before allowing their children to read it. Parents know their children best and can tell whether a child could handle it or not.

*This post was first published on 8/29/12, and was updated on 1/4/18.

The Earth Angel Training Academy

The Earth Angel Training Academy by Michelle Gordon

(Summary taken from the author’s website) “When Head of the Earth Angel Training Academy, Velvet, receives a call from an Elder on the first day of term, she knows that the new class will be unlike any other she has taught.

While experiencing the most tumultuous time of her very long existence, Velvet must remember her buried past, and open her eyes to the future so that she can prepare the Earth Angel trainees for the toughest missions of their existence – to Awaken the humans before the world ends.

Time is running out…”

I didn’t know what to expect with this book, but I really enjoyed it! It is very different from everything else I have read lately, and that is a bonus in and of itself. Ms. Gordon’s writing style is light and fun and easy to read. The character development in this book is really good. I fell in love with Velvet, Aria, and Amethyst right from the beginning. I love the names of the characters as well. Some of the characters are a little hard to relate to, like the ones that are shaped as shapes (like rectangles), but it’s fantasy, right? So you just find yourself going with it and in the end it works. Ms. Gordon has created a very fun place to live. I would love to be able to snap my fingers and change the decor in my house or transport myself from one area to another.

The really great thing about this book are the lessons taught, and the fact that it really makes you think. No matter what your thoughts are on heaven or what happens when you die, this book makes you think. Are there really people in heaven trying to help us here on earth? Did we know some of the people around us before coming to earth? How do we become “awakened,” as she calls it, or how do we remember who we really are? This book is a fun and light-hearted way to make you think about those things. Even though the questions may be deep, the storyline is mostly light and fun. There are a few heavier moments, but everything ends up happily.

There was some language in this book, which I thought didn’t really fit in. I mean, can you picture angels swearing? I don’t know. I thought it was awkward and took a good story for kids to read and made it not kid-friendly. Not only that, I just didn’t think it fit in the storyline. There was a kind of suicide scene.  It was a little different since she was already dead, but still a heavier part in the story. There was lots of talk of love and some times when you knew things happened but they were never described.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I do recommend it with the previous warnings. I thank Ms. Gordon for allowing me to read and review her book.

Rating: PG-13 (Language, suicide, and some innuendos)

Recommendation: 14 and up. Like any book, you may want to read it first to make sure it is appropriate for your child.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tiger’s Quest

Tiger’s Quest (Book #2) by Colleen Houck

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “Kelsey Hayes’s eighteenth summer was crazy. The kind of crazy that nobody would ever believe. Aside from battling immortal sea monkeys and trekking the jungles of India, she fell in love with Ren, a 300-year-old prince. When danger suddenly forces Kelsey on another Indian quest with Ren’s bad-boy brother, Kishan, the unlikely duo begins to question their true destiny. Ren’s life hangs in the balance–and so does the truth within Kelsey’s heart. Tiger’s Quest, the thrilling second volume in the Tiger’s Curse series, brings the trio one step closer to breakin the ancient prophecy that binds them.”

I really liked this book. I didn’t love it as much as the first one, but I did really like it and am glad I read it. If you liked the first one you should definitely read this one. Like the first one, the whole premise is kind of corny, but you know what, you just go with it and it’s entertaining. This is a great book to read when you don’t want to think, you just want to be entertained. It is part “Indiana Jones,” part “Twilight,” and part fairy tale. It’s a fast, easy read, and is clean! It’s a great young adult book. There is an occasional kiss, but that is about all.  It’s fun and well written. I like Ms. Houck’s writing style because it flows well and is easy to read.

I like the characters in the story. Kelsey is a strong character, which I like, but she is also human. She does have a little bit more of Bella (from “Twilight”) in her in this book, but not enough to make you crazy. It’s more of a real, or natural, side of her. You learn a lot more about Kishan in this book and that was fun. He’s quite the character. Mr. Kadam I really like, and Ren, of course. I think girls will like this series more than boys will, but there are some action/adventure parts that boys will like too.

Rating: PG-13 (Once again, not for content, but it’s probably better for a little older young adult.)

Recommendation: 14 and up. Yay! A true young adult book!

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tiger’s Curse

Tiger’s Curse (Book #1) by Colleen Houck

(Summary taken from inside book cover) “The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever. Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.”

Boy, are those last words true. I’m dying! I want the next book and I want it now!!! I loved this book! The cover alone draws you in, right? The beautiful blue eyes just draw you in, and that is how the whole book is. Ren’s character, even though a tiger, is so intriguing. I had to keep reading to find out more about him. He is so mysterious, yet he wears his emotions on his sleeve (or fur) so to speak. At first I didn’t know how it would work with a tiger as a main character, but Ms. Houck did a really good job of making it seem real. Kelsey’s character is a mix between Catniss from Hunger Games and Bella from Twilight, along with some Clary from City of Bones. She’s tough and stubborn like Catniss and Clary. She can take care of herself and be strong, but at the same time, she’s got a Bella streak that drives me crazy. It’s almost opposite of Bella, but she handles it in a similar way. I screamed at Bella and I definitely screamed at Kelsey. Just imagine me reading at night when everyone is asleep and suddenly screaming, “You stupid girl……Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!”  She has been given this great thing (I won’t tell you what it is) and all she wants to do is get rid of it. It drove me crazy! But, I had to keep reading to see if she if she figured it all out. And…..well…..I’m not going to give away the ending except to say that you better just get book one and two at the same time. I also really like Mr. Kadam’s character. He is also shrouded in mystery, but he adds a lot to the book. I wasn’t so sure about him in the beginning. As a mom I had red flags shooting up everywhere warning danger, but………(I won’t ruin it).

This book reads easily and is well written. There are a few typos, but that’s all. I like Ms. Houck’s style of writing. It flows well and doesn’t tell you how to feel, but you feel it. I read it in just a few days, which is kind of unheard of at the moment. I could not put it down. And, I think I dreamt of tigers a few nights. Those eyes. (Thank you illustrator Cliff Nielsen)

And, it’s clean! There’s no language and no violence. There is a romance in the story and a lot of feelings expressed. There is a lot of kissing, but it doesn’t go further than that. There is some relationship tension which makes it a little inappropriate for really young readers. I don’t want my ten-year-old reading it, even though it is clean.

Rating: PG-13 Not for content really, because it is clean. There is that sexual tension and you think that it might go further than kissing (it doesn’t), but I just think it’s more appropriate for a little older reader.

Recommendation: 14-15 and up. You may want to read it (because it’s really good) to see whether or not it’s appropriate for your child. It may be okay for a really mature 13-year-old. I love it when I can say that this is actually a good Young Adult book!

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. This does not sway my opinion as all my reviews are honest.

Dizzy Miss Lizzie

Dizzy Miss Lizzie by R.M. Clark

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Thirteen-year-old Kasey Madrid finally has the freedom she’s always wanted. Instead of putting up with sitters or camps, she can spend the summer home alone in their “new” house. Never mind that the house is a creepy old place built in the nineteenth century. The creep factor skyrockets when Kasey meets a nineteenth-century girl named Lizzie Bellows in the basement. It takes some time for Lizzie to convince Kasey she’s not a ghost, though neither girl understands why they can see each other when they live 120 years apart.The difference in their worlds doesn’t stop the two from becoming fast friends. Lizzie’s life isn’t easy though. In her time, her parents died in a fire many believe Lizzie started herself. As the summer passes and Kasey learns more about her own past, she is shocked to discover Lizzie is part of a terrible Madrid family secret. It’s up to Kasey to go back to Lizzie’s world to unlock the secret and clear Lizzie’s name.

I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but it was really fun! It was a fast, easy read, which is good. I enjoyed it! It is well written. I liked the writing style, and thought it flowed well. I liked the characters and thought they were well-developed. I liked how Lizzie and Kasey grew into good friends, and how Kasey tried to learn as much about Lizzie as possible. Even though the premise is impossible, Mr. Clark did a very good job making it seem very plausible. I also loved that it was clean! There was no language, no violence (except a small curse put on someone), and no “physical intimacy.” It was great and will be great for some of the younger readers. I don’t know if my 10 year-old son will like it, but maybe. Girls his age will for sure enjoy it. I enjoyed it and I’m much older than 10!

Rating: PG  (It’s clean!)

Recommendation: 9 years and up. The girls will for sure enjoy it, and possibly the boys that age.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review, but that does not change my opinion. All my reviews are honest.

Mystery of the Puzzle Bones

Mystery of the Puzzle Bones by T.A. Smith

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Jaydon, Caleb, Ethan, Brandon and Roscoe the dog have a great hideout, but someone is leaving a strange puzzle of bones in the Boardunders Clubhouse. Someone has found them and wants to lead them deeper into the sewers to a place that doesn’t want to be found and a people that would do anything to protect their secret. The danger becomes extreme when they are forced to run for their lives. Can they escape, and who can they trust to help?”

**Spoiler Alert!!!! But if you are a parent who has a child that wants to read this book, please read on.**

I was really excited to read this book. I have a ten year-old who reads so much I can’t keep up. I am out of ideas for him at the moment, and thought this sounded like a great book for him. I liked it at the beginning. The boys seemed nice, although I would have liked some more development with each character. I never really felt a connection to any of them. Jaydon was the best developed, but I digress. I know my son would love their hideout and was getting excited when they found the puzzle bones. Then it all went downhill. I was so sad. The kids go after the dog (I did like the dog) and find a secret doorway. This leads them down some rickety stairs (I liked it to here.) and into an underground shanty town filled with homeless people and fugitives. And most of these characters are scary and dangerous. They do not want to be found out, so they will kill these children. They find this little girl, who happened to be the one that left the bones, and she takes them to her dad, who isn’t too happy to see them. They run for their lives and manage to escape before this scary, dangerous, armed man comes after them. They go home. Then Caleb goes with his dad to the Rescue Mission (Caleb quotes scriptures and almost preaches to the other boys throughout the book, which I was fine with.) and takes Ethan with him. Inside the Rescue Mission they see a poster of the girl they found underground, and she has been kidnapped by her dad, and taken away from her mom. It gets worse. Ethan thinks they should save her, so he hides in a bag of blankets and goes back down into the shanty town to save her.

Okay. I loved the concept of this book. Kids with a secret hideout and finding lots of adventures is fun. I liked the bones mystery, I liked them exploring. But I really think that the content of an underground shanty town filled with fugitives and kidnapped children is too much for this age group. I do not want my ten year-old being scared that there are people living in our sewer system, I do not want him reading about children being kidnapped by their dads and hidden in deplorable conditions underground. This reminds me too much of a very adult book I reveiwed a while back called “The Liquid City” by Curtis Hopfenbeck that had a very similar situation and it was not child-friendly at all. Also, I do not want my child to think that he can solve problems like that on his own. Those children should have gone straight to their parents for help. Instead, they decided to put their lives in danger. Also, because of their actions, the town was cleared out by the time the police got there. The police could have taken in the fugitives and maybe helped some of the people living there if they had gotten there first. I would have loved it if the boys had found an underground fantasy world or aliens living underground, or even a homeless family that they could have helped. Unfortunately, I think this storyline is just too much for the 8-12 age group.

I usually do not read other reviews of books I review, but this time I wanted to see what other people said. I wanted to see if I was being over-sensitive. According to the other reviews, I am. The other reviews I read seemed fine with the content. So I asked around. I asked my husband and a few friends with kids in this age group, and they agreed with me. They, too, thought the storyline was too heavy for children this age. Therefore, it is up to you, as a parent , to decide what is best for your child.

Rating: PG-13 (Underground shanty town with fugitives, kidnapped children, armed men)

Recommendation: 16 years and up. I might even go older. It is up to the parent to decide for each individual child.

I thank Media Guests and T.A. Smith for the opportunity to review this book. I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review, but that does not sway my review. My reviews are all honest.

Inheritance (Book #4) by Christopher Paolini

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “It began with Eragon…It ends with Inheritance. Not so very long ago, Eragon–Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider–was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now, the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hop, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chance. The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to imagine. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? And if so, at what cost? This is the spellbinding conclusion to Christopher Paolini’s worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.”

I have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever! I loved the first three and could not wait for the last book. It’s long. It took me awhile to read, but I really enjoy Mr. Paolini’s writing style. He draws you in and keeps you there. I like that he uses some “bigger” words and makes you think a little more than other series might. I get so lost in his world. I feel attached to a lot of the characters, like Eragon and Saphira, Roran, Arya, Nasuada, and Orik. I even really like Murtagh, even though he is now sworn to Galbatorix. I just keep thinking that he’ll come around. Mr. Paolini has this way with his characters that makes you feel like you are their best friends. I get worried about them, happy for them, sad for them, etc.

At the beginning of the book I was really disappointed because I didn’t think Eragon was being true to himself (Mr. Paolini may have forgotten Eragon’s disposition in the first three books????). After his farm was burned and his uncle killed, Eragon was filled with anger and wanted revenge; however, he grew more into his new role and grew out of his blood thristy thoughts. He didn’t like the fighting. The sight of what the Ra’zac did to villagers made him ill. He fought only because he had to. At the beginning of this book Eragon just seemed like he enjoyed the fighting and the violence. He seemed to want it and even need it. Fortunately, Mr. Paolini saved it in the middle and end by bringing Eragon back to his true self.

By the middle of the book I was finally hooked. Eragon was back to normal, the storyline was filled with twists and turns and lots of tension, and I couldn’t read fast enough. I liked the way everything was shaping up. And then came the end. Ahhhhhhhh!!!! Really??? You draw us in, hook us, make us wait forever for this last book, and then this is how you end it??? 849 pages was not long enough….it needed another 100 pages at least to end it the right way. I was so mad. I would have thrown the book if it hadn’t been from the library. I still can’t believe he ended it that way. We, as readers and fans, don’t care about a good ending being predictable, we just want it to end the right way. Boo.

This book was quite graphic. There was some heavier language. There was also a very graphic  torture scene, which disturbed me. There is a lot of fighting and a lot of death. It is war, and it’s not pretty.

If you have read the first three books then I recommend reading this one. You need to read it for yourself. Maybe you’ll enjoy the ending…..Having said that…..I still think I would recommend the series because the first three are so good, but I was disappointed by the ending.

Rating: PG-13+ (War scenes, death, violence, torture scenes, language)

Recommendation: 14 or 15 and up. My 10 year-old really wants to read this series but I think it’s too much for him still. Especially this book. He’s going to be mad, but I’m not going to let him read it for a few more years.

Book Review of Does Change Have to be So Hard by Julie Donley, RN

Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? by Julie Donley, RN

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “What makes change so H.A.R.D.? we struggle to lose weight, change jobs, improve our relationships or our financial condition and even give up addictions. We succumb to our habits and accept a life of mediocrity, wishing it could be different and incessantly hoping for that magic solution. The reality is that we are creatures of habit and change can be uncomfortable. Change requires hard work, consistency and time. We perceive it as a chore and most of us just don’t want to work that hard. Yet, there have been times in your life when you have made great change and it has brought you to a much better place. You were willing to do whatever it took to achieve the outcome you desired and you did it! You succeeded.”

I really liked this book. Ms. Donley has overcome a lot of change in her life and she has some very good insights into making change easier. Her writing style is easy to read and understand, and she explains everything well. She definitely made me think I could make any change I wanted to! I really like how she talks about preparing ourselves for change. Sometimes we get frustrated because we keep saying we want to change but we don’t do it. Well, her advice is to not feel guilty about that because maybe we really aren’t ready yet. We need to take the time to prepare ourselves for change. We need to mull it over and when we are really ready we will do it! Sometimes the “ready” point comes by necessity like having a heart attack makes you eat healthier or a spouse passes away. Other changes though, like losing weight or giving up addictions, need time to prepare ourselves for. Ms. Donley’s acronyms are helpful in remembering her steps.

Some of the book is repetitive, but I think that can be good and helpful in a self-help book. Sometimes we need to hear things over and over before they finally sink in.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to change something in his or her life, which is most likely everyone. 🙂

Rating: G Good, clean reading!!

Recommendation: Middle school and up, just because I don’t think children really need to worry about it. It could help a middle school child who is dealing with major change, like a divorce.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free book in exchange for this review. That does not change my opinion, however, I am always honest in my reviews.

Book Review of Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen

Holy Stable by Heidi Hanseen

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “The heavenly gift of Christmas transforms hearts and homes. Create lasting memories as you experience with family and friends the shared affection at Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph’s devotion to God and sublime caring for each other will bring you to experience the story as never before. As Joseph searches for comforting words to offer Mary, he is attended by angel children who sing along to welcome Baby Jesus. Discover how sharing the gift of Jesus’ love blesses relationships, as you enjoy the magic of children’s narration, original music, and song.”

This is a beautiful book! The gold-tipped pages are beautiful and give you a sense that what is in the book is important. The illustrations are well done and add greatly to the story. The story of Mary and Joseph is written in poem form and done very well. It is tender and not corny. The music on the CD is very soft and calming. The children’s voices are so sweet and convey the message of Christmas well. I love the idea of having the music, narration, and a downloadable script all wrapped up together with the book. This will make having the Christmas pageant in your home or church much easier. You can use her narration or just the music. There are many ways to make it fit perfectly with your needs. Thank you, Ms. Hanseen for such a beautiful book. I will definitely be reading this one to my children this Christmas season.

Rated: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Great for everyone!!

Discloure: I did receive a free book in exchange for this review; however, this does not sway my opinion. All my reviews are honest.

Velwythe: Resurrection of the Mind by Bonn Turkington

(Summary taken from the back of the book) “His mother vanished. His father killed himself. Vaan, now 21, has no friends, no money, no family, and no hope. All his dreams have vanished. Unable to escape the horror of his own memories, his life has been in stasis. But with a bit of luck and  a bit of effort Vaan manages to make his first real friend since childhood. Duncan, a man who has watched the growing railline destroy his entire home city, was disowned after denying his birthright. Vaan and Duncan become fast friends with troubled pasts. Now, with Duncan’s help and the ‘encouragement’ of a local priest, Vaan decides his life has remained in a quagmire too long. Only by selling his house and everything he owns will he have a chance to become a wandering scholar. Every year around the FreePort Solstice Festival (and his birthday) Vaan has terrible nightmares of his father’s chronic pain. But the night before the festival Vaan has a dream unlike any before. He wakes up thinking he has gone blind–but it isn’t just that, he can feel something, something cold pawing at his head as though it is absorbing his very thoughts. After the horrible dream, leaving FreePort isn’t just about getting an education. Ellred, a local priest, tells Vaan there could be more to his non-dream than he could ever imagine. But the only way to figure any of it out is if Duncan agrees to travel with Vaan to the very place Duncan can never return. And on their way to Alpine, Vaan’s encounter with a small militia forces him to question his understanding of humanity and the very reality he thought to be true for so many years. But Velwythe is more than just the story of Vaan and Duncan. Visit Velwythe.com to explore the world Vaan and Duncan explore, participate in the story by communicating with the characters, vote on issues that will change not only the future books but the entire world and much, much more. No book world has been so complete and so accessible. Velwythe, not just a book, a whole new world.”

I did not read this synopsis before I started the book, and I probably should have. It took me awhile to get into the book, and I was just starting to enjoy it when, at page 198 (out of 308), I reached the Epilogue. Huh? Doesn’t the Epilogue usually come at the end of the book? I was just starting to like Vaan and Duncan and to care about what happened to them. I felt excited for Vaan’s future and what it might hold…..and then the book ended with over 100 pages left. I was really confused. The Epilogue went back to what happened in the Prologue and actually maybe answered some questions while asking some more. The rest of the book was a history of the land of Velwythe and descriptions of the different places there. It also described how to go to Velwythe.com and interact with the book there.

This is a very clever idea. I went to Velwythe.com and took a look around, and there is a lot to look at. I found it overwhelming and a bit confusing, but I bet with time it could be very interesting.  At the website you are able to read more about the history of the places in the book, and supposedly suggest ideas and write articles for the lands’ newspapers. Mr. Turkington has put a lot of effort into the site. I never found out where you go to add a city to the map or things like that, but it could be entertaining. Mr. Turkington will then take what happens online and add it to the following books.

It’s a very clever idea; however, it is not for me. I barely have enough time to read a book, so I definitely do not have time, or the interest, to explore an online world. I think it may be really good for a teenage boy (or girl) who loves to game online because it will tie reading into online interaction. At the same time, I’d much rather my children not interact online and just read…..but if it’s a way to get a child to read then it could be good. I did end up liking the story, but with all the other stuff I don’t think I’ll read the following books. I don’t know if I’ll let my children read it either, because my oldest is only ten, and although he could read the story just fine, I don’t want him spending time living in an online world.

The book is fairly well written. There are some typos, it is a little slow at the beginning, and a few places are a bit confusing, but overall it is well written and easy to read. Vaan’s character development is good, and I found Ellred intriguing. I liked Duncan and Jonas as well, and would have liked to learn more about them.

Rating: PG-13 (Violence, death, some scary creatures)

Recommendation: This is a hard one. I’m going to say 14 and up just because I think teenagers  may really like it, and it may pull them into reading. On the flip side, I don’t know if it’s healthy for younger children to get too involved with an online world.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.