by K.T. Dady
Published on December 8, 2018
Sometimes I wonder how many hidden book gems there are out there. The ones not published by the large publishing houses? The Morgans and the Jewel of Bar-Ran is one of those hidden gems for me. I knew it when I found myself not wanting to put it down late at night and when I looked forward to picking it back up after work.
Your world isn’t the only one that exists. There is another, a magical place called Bar-Ran, and it’s about to be destroyed unless the Morgan children can find the royal dragon and replace its heart. They are five siblings who are magically transported to a strange land during the night. All they want to do is go home, but a wizard sends them on a journey to rescue the powerful Jewel, and it is a journey that changes their lives forever.
This book is suitable for Harry Potter fans and those who enjoy discovering new places like Neverland, Wonderland, and Narnia. This is the first book in the series.
In the story are five children who are living with their horrible uncles. Occasionally the children get to visit their grandmother, who lives in a castle, which is where this book starts. Shortly after their arrival one of the children, Davina, sneaks out of bed late at night to visit the South Tower, which starts a chain of events that lead to all five children being whisked away to a magical land that they need to help save.
This book had a lot of fun moments in it. The Morgan children are quite talkative and inquisitive and what I especially appreciate is how the author provides each child ample opportunity to speak in the conversations, which is a huge plus in my book since it is easy to focus on solely a couple of them and have the others just tag along. Each child also has their own personality and quirks that comes through too – Meredith, the oldest, who is often seen trying to unruffle feathers due to Davina’s insensitive comments or Wesley, who is scared of all things creepy, or Max who is the youngest, but smartest one out of all them.
As I read through this book one thing kept crossing my mind – that it would make a terrific audio book. It has so many qualities that I look for when listening to one: engaging plot that continues to move forward, lots of fun conversations for a voice actor to act out and then on top of that there are several different types of characters – humans, leprechauns, ratish-humans, fairies, gargoyles, and several others where all different types of voices and dialects could be used.
This story does not reinvent the children’s fantasy genre, but what it does is tell a compelling story that is nicely plotted out with enough small details and quiet moments that make it special. Small details, such as one of the characters having a quirky way of talking, or when the children are at a candy shop they have an interesting conversation about whether the fruit flavored candy of ‘lemon and onion’ should be tried (apparently it tastes really good), but it’s also the other small details like a miniature clock quietly ticking on a bedside cabinet.
There was one issue at the beginning that may discourage others as they begin to read that I wanted to address. The Intro shows as all one paragraph in my Fire tablet and looks rather lengthy and probably should be broken up into smaller paragraphs. When I first started reading and saw it I was a little worried, but after the intro it never occurred again. So, if you’re reading the book and see this – just know that is the only place it happens at.
I recommend this book for those who are looking for a new fantasy adventure in the children’s fiction genre.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Thank you to the author for the review copy and opportunity to provide my honest review.