Thursday, November 12, 2009

Curse of the Spider King

What? No Shadow Dragons review yet? Well, I got into this one first. And don't worry, I'm working on it. I've read everything from Wayne Thomas Batson that he's published: The Door Within Trilogy and the extremely fun Isle of Swords duology (I refuse to call them the Pirate Adventures books like the publisher does, simply because these titles are so boring.). Now he's coauthored a book with fellow Christian writer Christopher Hopper, and it's the start of a series of unannounced length: The Berinfall Prophecies. From the looks of it so far, it's the biggest project Batson has dived into to date. But is it good? Can he make the transition to coauthoring without some seriously huge bumps in the road?

Of course he can, silly.

The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?

That's right. Curse of the Spider King is an actual curse inside the book, not just some corny title.

I haven't read anything of Christopher Hopper's, but this book has convinced me I need to remedy that situation in the not-too-distant future. His and Batson's voices mix together smoothly and without giving the reader the feeling that only one of the authors wrote any certain part. The execution of this concept is done beautifully, giving basically the whole volume to introducing the ideas of the series to us in a flowing way. While it may not be my favorite of Batson's (that would be The Final Storm), I enjoyed every minute I read it. It kept me glued to the page and even made me laugh aloud in a couple of moments. I honestly am exctied for the upcoming Book 2, which has a preview in the back of Book 1 and is tentatively titled Venom and Song. Give this one to your kids, or better yet, read it aloud so you get to experience the fun to be had here. All in all, a great starter to a promising series.

My rating: 9.5/10

Coming Soon: The Shadow Dragons, for real this time.

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