Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows – Book Review

The Elandrian Chronicles #1 By: J.M. Bergen
Published On: February 2, 2019

“Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.”

Thomas Wildus is living an ordinary life. He has friends, a crush on a classmate, a good relationship with his mother, and is learning Kung Fu. But one day a musical note from an unknown source and a mysterious man lead Thomas to a unique bookstore that changes everything for Thomas. While in the bookstore, the owner gives Thomas the Book of Sorrows, but only after promising to follow a few strict rules. Eager to learn about magic and everything the book has to offer, he starts reading one chapter at a time.

What I was immediately drawn to was how much the world came to life in the background of the story. While Thomas walks down a street, I can almost hear the car horns blaring. He visits his friend Enrique’s house and can feel the liveliness of activity in the home. I can see a chess set waiting for players. All together, it adds to the ambiance of the story that not every middle grade story can capture as well.

The story hums along with Thomas receiving the book, to going to school and interacting with friends, and to learning about magic. The pace is quick and even and before you know it your at the end.

The characters are fun – especially Enrique and Professor Reilly. With Enrique, there was always a wave of activity around him that captured my attention. While Professor Reilly was almost always at the center of a funny scene. Also, Huxley played the part of the enigmatic shopkeeper well with his ‘many rules to agree upon’ before letting Thomas have the book.

While I found the story a fun adventure read there were a few points that bothered me that I am certain the younger me would not have even noticed. To move the narrative along Thomas gets taken without warning by people he trusts. As an adult, it concerned me that no one told him what was going on. How difficult could it have been for those around him to give Thomas a heads-up to keep him from getting scared? Later, these same adults whom Thomas trusts also lock him in a room without warning. As a reader, I understand what was transpiring, but once again couldn’t they have mentioned this part of the plan to Thomas ahead of time? Then last, I found Enrique’s travel explanation a bit implausible considering where he had to travel from and to. Would his mother believe that story and destination? But as I said – the younger middle-grade me would not have noticed any of this at all.

Overall, Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is an engaging book that kids will find humorous, entertaining, and filled with the wonders of magic.

Description:

Thomas thinks he’s an ordinary twelve year old, but when a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes gives him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows, the world he knows is turned upside down. Suddenly he’s faced with a secret family legacy, powers he can hardly begin to understand, and an enemy bent on destroying everything he holds dear. The more he reads and discovers, the deeper the danger to himself and the people he loves. As the race to the final showdown unfolds, Thomas must turn to trusted friends and uncertain allies as he seeks to prevent destruction at an epic scale.

Magic 7 – Never Alone – Graphic Novel Review

Script by: Kid Toussaint
Art by: Rosa La Barbera, Giuseppe Quattrocchi
Published on: January 20, 2020

Magic 7 completely surprised me in how much I enjoyed it. And if I am honest, it was a graphic novel I was not ready to have end. If the 2nd volume had been available to me I would have immediately grabbed it and started reading.

Technically speaking, I was a little worried at the first page. It looked to be set hundreds of years ago, not to mention an old fashioned art style and font style, but as I turned to the 2nd page everything completely changed. That’s when I realized the first page was only a flashback to some previous time setting the story in motion.

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The Killing Fog – Book Review

The Grave Kingdom Book 1
By: Jeff Wheeler
Published on: March 1, 2020
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 404
Cover Designer: Shasti O’Leary Soudant

The Killing Fog is the first in a new Asian-inspired fantasy series by Jeff Wheeler. I’m ashamed to say I have seen his other works, but never got around to reading them even though they have been on my list for a while. So, I am very happy to be able to read this first one in his new series.

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A Gathering of Shadows – Audio Book Review

Shades of Magic #2 by V.E. Schwab
Published on: February 23, 2016

A Gathering of Shadows Final

Have you ever liked a book or a series and yet didn’t like one of the main characters?  I mean like really, really disliked a main character.  That’s where I am with Lila Bard.  I had trouble with her in the first book, but in this second book in the series my dislike for her has moved very far from just “trouble.”

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A Darker Shade of Magic – Audio Book Review

Shades of Magic Book 1 by V.E. Schwab
Published on:  February 24, 2015

I liked a lot of what is in this book, but then there were some parts or conversations that frustrated me so much that at times I almost jerked the headset off my head as I reached to stop the audio book. Right now, I have no idea if it was the character that was driving me crazy or the way that character was portrayed in the audio book.

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