By: Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper
Ages: 12 - 17
Put out by: Thomas Nelson
Disclosure: Thomas Nelson provided complimentary copies to Mama Buzz reviewers for the purposes of this blog tour.
Curse of the Spider King, written by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, is Book 1 in The Berinfell Prophecies. When I first started reading this book, I thought that this was just going to be another magical story, and I thought that parts of it were going to be boring. I was so wrong. As I continued reading, I realized that this was quite the adventure story, reminding me, only at times during the stories of Berinfell, of The Lord of the Rings. The story weaved in and out of 7 different kids' lives, as well as having sections that told about the night that the city of Berinfell fell. It was an action-packed story that truly kept my attention with its vivid detail and descriptions of what was going on. One of my favorite parts of the book was the car chase between Kat and her housekeeper and the mysterious man, who kept showing up in a long trench coat. Only this was no detective; this man had been watching all seven of the kids.....and he wasn't the only one. He was a Drefid, and he was out to kill Kat, for the sake of the Spider King, who wanted them dead before they could help to restore the Elvin kingdom. This scene in the book had such action in it that I felt like I was watching a movie.
The story alternates between the seven kids' lives and how each one is given a book, The History of Berinfell. The seven kids are Tommy Bowman, Autumn and Johnny Briarman, Jett Green, James "Jimmy" Lewis Gresham, Kat Simonson, and Kiri Lee Yuen. These kids had no idea who they really were, royalty. As each one was given the mysterious book, they would begin to read it, and the words on the pages would literally come to life before their very eyes, showing them the story of Berinfell. The night that Berinfell was destroyed, seven royal children were taken and later exiled to live in the human world. Now, eight hundred years later, they are discovering new things about themselves; but they don't have time to take it all in; they have to fight in a war they could have never imagined.
This book is definitely a book that Jacob would enjoy, but I may wait a while before I let him read it. I might would read it to him at this age, although I don't think he'd have much of a problem reading it or understanding it himself. Some of the fighting scenes were just a bit graphic, nothing too harsh, though. It is the type of story that he would love, though. At $10.19 on Amazon, it's definitely worth that, in my opinion. I honestly think it would make a great Christmas present for a slightly older child, maybe middle grades. It's a hardback book, 372 pages filled with action-packed stories that will surely keep his attention. The beginning of a book has a Principal Cast list that lists each character from the book and describes who they were. It's a little overwhelming at first, but as you read through the book, you can go back to it and truly understand who you are reading about. There is also a Principal Locations list. I give this book two thumbs up.
Melissa J's Thoughts
The day this book becomes a movie and hits the movie theater, I am so there! I know that sounds pretty adolescent, but that's what I was thinking about 1/4 of the way into the book. This is one awesome series, and even if I don't have to review the rest, I will be buying them for my own library!
In some ways, it feels like the same type of story that so many other books are made out of. Children who transverse across worlds (think Chronicles of Narnia) and colorful scenes that involve elves and evil beings (think Lord of the Rings) are not a unique literary theme by any means. However, Wayne and Christopher have such an amazing talent with written words and intricate story lines, it seems new in Curse of the Spider King.
At first, I couldn't quite track with the book. There are, at first read, several characters in both the here-and-now world, as well as the world of Allyra, but thanks to the character list, I was able to keep track of who was who. Truth be told, I like books that are a bit more advanced than just cursory reading. Curse of the Spider King delivers that to me.
Seven, thirteen year olds, all of which have nothing in common, are tied together by one single thread. That thread puts their lives in peril, as well as the ones they care for. Also at stake, is the entire existence of Allyra and the elves. In a destiny that not only affects them, but also many others and each teenager must make the choice as to what role they will play in a drama that involves two worlds and countless lives.
The Berinfell Prophecies may just become the next Lord of the Rings series and I am thrilled to begin adding it to my library.
PS--check out The Underground at the Berinfall website and join the adventure!