[Book Review] Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5) by M.L. Forman

Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5) by M.L. Forman
Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5)
by
M.L. Forman

Blurb:
“Whalen Vankin is a great and honorable wizard, and he has only ever personally trained two other wizards. One is Alexander Taylor, a young man who has earned a reputation as a brave adventurer, a warrior, and a man of honor. They other is Jabez, Vankin’s nephew–a man whose choices have led him down a different, darker path. Dark magic has covered Westland, and evil is stirring. Whalen and Alex must journey together into the heart of danger, confronting a sea serpent, and facing down more than one dragon. Alex must find the legendary Axe of Sundering–the one weapon that offers a chance to defeat Jabez–and protect the land from  the dark wizard’s plans. But finding it will be an adventure of its own as the only pathway to the Axe leads through the underground tunnels and secret passages of the Castle of Conmar. But Jabez has a final weapon at his disposal: the powerful Orion stones, which could spell the end to Whalen and Alex both.”
My Review:
May I just say how much fun this series has been? My boys have read lots of books and series (they are now 16 and 14) and this series is high up there as one of their favorites! My 14 year-old put this book on hold at the library a couple of years ago, because it’s anticipated date of publication was back then, and it was on hold for a year. After the year was up I redid it and it was on hold again for awhile, then the library took it off. My son asked every couple of months if this book was out yet. There were some complications in getting this book written and published; I think the author was very sick or something. Needless to say, at my house, the anticipation for this book was enormous! So, when I was asked to review it, of course I said, “Yes!” And, both of my sons read it before I did; they were so excited! Did it let them down? Nope! (Thank goodness!) The Axe of Sundering is a great end to the series. I will really miss reading about Alex and his amazing adventures. This book has some great twists and turns, and there are a few times that you are very worried about both Alex and Vankin. Will they pull out of this one? Will they be able to defeat all this evil? They both put themselves in some sketchy situations in order to try and defeat the Brotherhood and its leaders. I missed having the familiar adventurer friends in this book, but some new friends were introduced, and by the end they had won my  approval. I just love the creativity of M.L. Forman; what an imagination! The concept of the Axe of Sundering is quite clever, and the different places that Alex and Vankin travel are so unique and interesting. This book, along with the rest, is well written, the character development is great, it is exciting and full of adventure, and it’s a great end to the series. There were some unanswered questions and a few things left undone, but I know the author’s health was not great, and I’m glad he persevered to finish. I loved the twist at the end, and thought it was very fitting! I highly recommend this book, and the whole series! 
Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity or “intimacy,” but there is quite a bit of violence. They are in the middle of a war against evil, and there is quite a bit of fighting. Some prominent characters die; some of the deaths are a bit graphic.)
Recommendation: 4th or 5th grade and up (Perfect for middle-graders and YA readers…and their moms!)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Adventurers Wanted Series:
(Click on the images to find out more about each book!)
Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
Book #1

Adventurers Wanted: The Horn of Moran (Book #2) by M.L. Forman
Book #2

Adventurers Wanted: Albrek's Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman
Book #3

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Book #4
Adventurers Wanted: The Axe of Sundering (Book #5) by M.L. Forman
Book #5


[Book Review] Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Picture from amazon.com
Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4)
by
M. L. Forman

Blurb:

“After hundreds of years without a true king, the desert land of Nezza is in danger of falling under the rule of a ruthless lord advised by an evil wizard with dark intentions. A desperate cry for help brings Alexander Taylor to this perilous land and sets events in motion that will require him to rescue an old friend from an impenetrable dungeon. Once in Nezza, Alex meets a new band of adventurers and joins them in their quest to find young Prince Rallian–the man destined to become the rightful king of Nezza. In their path lies a deadly sand monster, a wise and insightful oracle, a massive army of illusions, and a host of lords and leaders ready to fight for–and against–the king of their land. But a dark shadow threatens Alex’s every step. And in Nezza, a land where magic is feared and wizards are held in suspicion, Alex will have to be more wise and cunning than ever before if he and his friends are to succeed–or even survive.”

My Review:

At first I wanted to be an adventurer…after reading this book, I’m not so sure! Eeek! I think I’m too big of a wuss! I would NOT want to be captured by an evil lord and kept in an impenetrable dungeon! I wouldn’t want to come face to face with a scary sand monster! I wouldn’t want to fight against an evil lord’s army, and I wouldn’t want to try and broker a peace treaty with warring peoples. Sheesh! I WOULD, however, want to read about it! I would love to read all about it from the comfort of my couch and my warm, snugly blanket! Of course, I could do that all day! Sometimes by the time you get to book #4 in a series, you can tell that the author is just done. The writing goes downhill, the characters don’t act like themselves, etc. That is definitely not the case with this book! I love how creative this series still is, how Alex is still learning and growing, and how the underlying plot is still there, and maybe even becoming more apparent. Alex’s humility is refreshing, and even though he’s a pretty big deal, you wouldn’t know it by talking to him. It was fun to see Skeld again, and I liked many of the new characters, especially Rallian and Virgil. Stonebill was a fun character as well. I laughed every time I though of Alex talking to Stonebill, and I laughed even harder when I thought of how it looked to his friends. This book is full of action, lots of magic, a slight romance, and a good amount of mystery. It’s well written, the character development is very good, and it is a great addition to this fun series.

Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity and no “intimacy.”There is, however, quite a bit of violence. They are in the middle of a war, so there’s a lot of fighting. A few main characters die, and a bunch of others die as well. The deaths are not overly graphic, but some of them are sad.)

Recommendation: 4th-5th grade and up (Perfect for middle-graders and YA)

Adventurers Wanted Series:
(Click on the images to find out more about each book!)
Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
Book #1
Adventurers Wanted: The Horn of Moran (Book #2) by M.L. Forman
Book #2
Adventurers Wanted: Albrek's Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman
Book #3

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Book #4

[Book Review] Adventurers Wanted: Albrek’s Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman

Adventurers Wanted: Albrek's Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman
(Pic from amazon.com)
Adventurers Wanted: Albrek’s Tomb (Book #3)
by
M.L. Forman

Blurb:
“Two thousand years ago, the dwarf Albrek went looking for new mines in the land of Thraxon in the hopes of becoming rich–and vanished. Now the dwarves must find Albrek’s magical Ring of Searching before their mines run dry, a possibility which threatens the livelihood of the entire dwarf realm. Alexander Taylor joins a familiar company of adventurers on a quest to discover what happened to Albrek, find his mythical tomb, and locate the lost talisman. But finding the ring may be the least of the adventurers’ problems once they cross paths with an ancient, wandering paladin, Bane, who warns of a great evil working in all of the known lands. Following in Albrek’s footsteps, Alex and his friends travel to the haunted Isle of Bones, where a mysterious creature lurks in a deserted village, to the the cursed city of Neplee, where the dwarfs are hunted by the undead hellerash, and through the shadow of an empty oracle’s tower, where a whispered legend is about to come true.”
My Review:
Wow! What a ride! I have loved this series so far (my boys are 16 and 14 and have also loved it), and this book has a lot to offer! It’s a great third book, which is sometimes difficult to find. So much happens that Alex almost transforms right before your eyes! He grows and learns a lot throughout this book, and it’s fun to watch. I love that there are familiar friends, and new ones, on this adventure. Thrang, Thrain, and Arconn were a few old favorites, and the newbie Kat soon became a favorite adventurer of mine. There is so much action, adventure, magic, and mystery in this book! Seriously, Alex learns a lot of new things about himself and his abilities; I loved it! There are many surprises in this book, which made it super fun to read. It’s well written, the character development is very well done, and it’s an all-around fun read! If you enjoyed the first two books in the series then you’ll love this one!
Rating: PG (There is no profanity or “intimacy,” but there is some violence. Alex has to fight a very scary character.)
Adventurers Wanted Series:
(Click on the images to see more info about each book.)
Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman
Book #1

Adventurers Wanted: The Horn of Moran (Book #2) by M.L. Forman
Book #2

Adventurers Wanted: Albrek's Tomb (Book #3) by M.L. Forman
Book #3

Adventurers Wanted: Sands of Nezza (Book #4) by M.L. Forman
Book #4

The Horn of Moran (Adventurers Wanted Book #2)

The Horn of Moran (Adventurers Wanted Book #2) by M.L. Forman

Blurb:

“The land of Alusia is on the brink of war as two men have each claimed the throne. Only the true king can sound the Horn of Moran and prove his nobility. But the Horn has been lost for years. If it is not found–and soon–it could mean the destruction of an entire nation. It wasn’t that long ago that young Alexander Taylor embarked on his first adventure, where he discovered he was a wizard and destroyed the fearsome dragon, Slathbog. Now he joins a band of seasoned adventurers who have been called up to retrieve the legendary Horn of Moran. Their journey to the mysterious Tower of the Moon will take them through an enchanted forest, into battle against a goblin army, past the watchful eyes of griffin guards, and face-to-face with a sphinx and her deadly riddles. With his sword, Moon Slayer, and the wise counsel of his wizard mentor, Whalen Vankin, Alex must use all his wizard and warrior skills to fight a darkness that may consume them all.”

My Review:

This is such a fun series! This is middle-grader adventurer, fantasy heaven. You have the wizard-in-training, young Alex Taylor, who is such a great character. I love this kid. He’s so humble (most of the time), teachable, courageous, giving, caring, thoughtful, and intelligent. He trusts in himself enough to conquer some very difficult challenges, yet he doesn’t become over confident or arrogant. He constantly asks questions to learn and understand new things. He’s a good friend. He’s honest and has integrity. Sindar may be a new character in this book, but I really like him as well. He’s a good balance for Alex. He has the experience to help Alex on this journey. Of course Bregnest, Andy, and Halfdan are great adventurers, and I like that we got to know each of them more in this book. There were some of the same characters in this book as in the first, but we were able to meet a few new characters as well. What I really liked in this book was watching Alex grow into his role as wizard, and gain confidence and trust in his abilities. My boys didn’t think this book was as exciting as the first book was, and I can see their point. The quest is different. It’s not as flashy or exciting, but it is so important, and holds a deeper meaning to those that it will impact. Alex is able to grow more because of the nature of the quest. It requires more of his intelligence, and he must dig deeper into his abilities in order to achieve success. It is definitely more taxing on him in a different way. Another thing I love about this book is the emphasis that is put on the honor of the characters. There is constantly talk about their honor. If they do this then it increases their honor, but if they do that then it decreases their honor. What a great concept to have in a middle-grader series. I don’t think enough importance is put on honor today. I know that years ago your name and your honor meant everything. Unfortunately, I think we don’t do that as much today. We should, though. So I love that this book teaches that concept to middle-graders and early young adults. I thought it was a great second book in the series, and I definitely recommend it.

There is no profanity (hooray!) and no “intimacy” (thank you!). There is some minor violence when they battle different creatures along the way. Alex makes it a point to not kill innocent people or creatures, so a lot of what could happen doesn’t. A character does die, and so do a bunch evil creatures.

Rating: PG+ (No profanity or “intimacy.” There is some minor violence when they battle different creatures. A character does die, but it isn’t graphic in the description.)

Recommendation: 4th-5th grade and up. It’s a great middle-grade to early young adult read!

Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog’s Gold (Book #1)

Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog’s Gold (Book #1)
Summary:
“The sign is small, tucked into the corner of Mr. Clutter’s bookshop window: “Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within.” No one but fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor even seems to notice it is there. And for Alex, who has wished for a changed in his life, it is an irresistible invitation. Upon entering Mr. Clutter’s shop, Alex is swept away on an incredible adventure to a faraway land filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves. Alex becomes the eighth man in a band of adventurers seeking the lair of Slathbog the Red–an evil dragon with a legendary treasure. Along the way, Alex and his new friends must battle dangerous trolls and bandits, face undead wraiths, and seek the wisdom of the Oracle in her White Tower. Alex’s adventure takes him to distant and exotic lands where he learns about courage, integrity, honor, and, most importantly, friendship.”
My 11-year-old son told me I had to read and review this book. He loved it! Then my 13 year-old son read it and loved it, and so I finally got around to reading it. It reminded me a little of The Book Of Mysteries by Fran Orenstein. There are a few similarities, but in the end they are very different stories. I felt the innuendos and talk of “intimacy” in that book was too much for the age group, and there isn’t any of that in this book…..thank goodness! Alex sees a sign in a window advertising the need for adventurers, and thus begins his great adventure. This book is a great middle grade book. I liked it. I enjoyed getting caught up in Alex’s world, and in his adventures. It was mostly well written. It was a little predictable, but there were also a few good surprises. The character development is really good. There are some very interesting characters in this book, and it was fun getting to know them. I liked Alex, Arconn, Bregnest, Andy, Halfdan, Thrang, Skeld, Tayo, and Iownan. Their names are all unique and different, which I liked. The descriptions of the places they visit are very well done. I felt as if I were right there with them. I also liked to see the growth of Alex, and I enjoyed watching his relationship with his horse Shahree blossom. The bond they had was quite touching to read about. Some of the conversations seemed one dimensional and trite to me, but it didn’t seem to bother my boys at all. I also thought it had too many perfect endings. There were some trials and some hardships, but they all ended up perfectly in the end. One part of me really likes that because of course you want everything to turn out perfectly, but the other part of me thinks it is too unrealistic.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was fun to get caught up in the story and in the lives of these adventurers. There are at least two more books, I think, and I’m excited to read them. I’ll let you know when I get there. There is some violence, but it is mainly against fantasy characters like trolls, dragons,  and wraiths. Speaking of the wraiths, they scared me. They reminded me a lot of the Ring Wraiths in Lord of the Rings. They gave me the creeps, and I was glad when the story moved past that point. That part is scary, and may not be suitable for younger readers. There is at least one point where they fight other humans. There is no profanity that I can remember, and there is no “intimacy.”
Rating: PG+ (Violence in the fighting of other humans and fantasy characters, it is also scary in some parts.)
Recommendation: 4th grade (9-10 years-old) and up.