Sunday, October 25, 2009
Meanwhile, Captain Declan Ross and his daughter Anne sail the sea recruiting pirates for his "Wolf Pack," a group of former pirates paid by the British Government and the Brethren to hunt down other pirates. Villains, new and old, make their appearance quickly as well. Some are brutal and heartless, consumed by their desire for revenge; others are more subtle, content to wait until the proper moment to strike.
Wayne Thomas Batson paints a broad, sweeping tale that spans the Atlantic Ocean in this tale of treachery, truth, and tempests. Things are not always what they seem--even chapter titles can be deceiving. One rarely sees the newest--and cruelest--villain, The Merchant, but his influence is felt nonetheless.
As in Batson's other books, some of the secondary characters are so much "larger than life" as to feel almost caricatures of reality and yet they seem perfectly real at the same time. However, the main characters internal dilemmas are as clear and real as their external ones.
Overall, I preferred Isle of Fire to Isle of Swords. There were fewer extreme characters--or perhaps I just knew the characters better and so they felt more real--and the story is less obvious. One knows the good guys have to win, but how is very much uncertain. Also, I liked the fact that Declan, Anne, Cat, and the others, aren't searching for treasure but rather truth. And they all find Truth and therefore, true treasure.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys adventures on the high seas. But make sure you read "Isle of Swords" first!
By: Wayne Thomas Batson
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Bloodthirsty pirates. Buried treasure. Mysterious monks. Hidden islands. Daring escapes. Perilous searches. All these things and more are found in Isle of Swords. As Captain Declan Ross tries to discover a way to leave piracy behind, his daughter tries to persuade him to let her join the crew and his newest deckhand tries to recover his memory. A strange monk offers Captain Ross his chance to escape piracy if he will grant him passage to an island no one has seen. But the ruthless Captain Bartholomew Thorne also wants the treasure and will do anything to get his hands on the map now in Captain Ross' possession.
I had a little trouble at first with the manner in which Batson constantly shifts the point-of-view from which the story is being told. Hearing from half a dozen different characters who I barely knew was a bit confusing and frustrating. However, as the story progressed, I quickly lost sight of the point-of-view changes and lost myself in the story.
Isle of Swords is first and foremost an action and adventure story populated with memorably quirky characters. Secondly, it is a tale of what is really important in life--not the adventure, but those family and friends who share it with us. The message is smoothly interwoven into the story with the same skill Batson has shown in his Door Within trilogy. Nearly every reader should be enthralled by this fast-paced story set on the high seas.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Uniting familiar characters with delightful new ones, "The Rise of the Wyrm Lord" chronicles the further adventures of Aidan Thomas as he readjusts to life in our world, the Mirror Realm, as well as detailing the journeys of headstrong Antoinette Reed. When the teenagers meet at school, they quickly discover a mutual love for King Eliam and his ways. Convinced that Antoinette is being called to the Realm, Aidan secures her promise to search for Robby's Glimpse and persuade him to join them while he tries to persuade him in their own world. Never dreaming of the trouble it would cause, Antoinette gives her word and soon her adventures in the Realm begin.
Like "The Door Within," "The Rise of the Wyrm Lord" works with a broad cast of twelve knights, each with different strengths. This book introduces my favorite character, the herbmaster and pyromaniac knight Sir Oswyn. Batson manages to keep his main characters--both the Glimpses from each other and Antoinette from Aidan--very distinct so that we do not lose track of characters for the number of them.
Teenagers who enjoy fantasy will love this second book in the Door Within trilogy. Woven within the fast-paced tale is a lesson of trust and obedience--and the consequences of ignoring wise counsel. The only problem with the book is that it is the middle of the sequence. The ending leaves one wanting more! And that is hardly a true problem.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Some of the characters are rather broadly drawn so that they seem rather exaggerated and thus unrealistic, but they are delightful nonetheless. Captain Valithor, Sentinel of Alleble, employs hilarious adjectives as he urges those in his charge to work harder. One fun thing about the characters is the way their build and temperaments tend to mirror their weapons. Archer brothers Nock and Bolt are slight and quick, while hammer-wielding Mallik is built like a rock.
In this adventurous tale full of truth and treachery, rambunctious and hilarious characters, Aidan learns what it means to never be alone. Though written for Junior High and early High Schoolers, the story contains enough depth to satisfy an older reader while remaining simple enough for children many years younger. "The Door Within" is sure to delight any reader of adventure and fantasy.
By: Wayne Thomas Batson