While I write up a nice apology for my two-month blog absence, read this review for a book I critiqued for The Boogle back in April. Be sure to check out The Boogle. My fellow co-worker and writing hero, Mark, has just enjoyed his blog’s 10,000th visit!
Trafford Publishing, 2009
120 Pages/Children’s Fiction
4 out of 5 stars
Tiffany Turner’s second book in her The Crystal Keeper Chronicles series, The Lost Secret of the Green Man is engaging fantasy for children, although some children may get bogged down in the first half of the book until the action picks up. It took a while to gain speed but once it did, the story was charming and fun.
For the most part, the book is well-written, imaginative children’s fiction with an efficiently sketched cast of appealing characters designed to keep most children reading.
While a bit heavy handed on New Age imagery, practices and beliefs—magic crystals, ley lines, etc.—the story does offer some good, old-fashioned life lessons…and fun. (At times, the book felt a bit like a kiddy primer for New Age lifestyle, but maybe that’s just me.)
At times, the fantasy genre has a way of breeding clichés like no other genre, and Turner skillfully uses them to her advantage. After all, how many times can one read about fairies and the like without feeling trod upon by unicorn hooves? The author takes familiar children’s fantasy concepts and overused characters head on, leveraging the common annoyance for them and all the while poking fun. Turner uses this technique wisely (and sparingly) and just when you’re thinking, I feel another cliché coming on, the author gently ribs her own character and effectively disarms the cliché. Regarding Balkazaar, the evil sorcerer, Wanda remarks, “This time his smile was more akin to evil overlord in most movies. You know, the bad guy thinks he can always win type. He went back to twisting his mustache.” How honest! How can you have a story with a spunky, precocious (of course!) tweener battling the most grievous evil in the entire known universe, and not have some fun?
Reviewed by David Stucki, April 2010