Synopsis: 14-year-old Tommy Black was living a good life, until he and his guardian (his kind, but boring, grandfather) are attacked by shadows. Apparently his grandfather is a powerful magician that holds a powerful magic staff (who knew?). Whoever has held the staff is called an Archmage, and it is passed on through Tommy’s family. Tommy will be the next Archmage. All of this is quite a surprise to Tommy. Things get even more complicated when Tommy finds out that the magic is dying, and the Shadows (the evil monsters) want the Staff and they are willing to do anything to get it. Now Tommy isn’t sure if his grandfather is dead or alive and Tommy must join forces with a young granddaughter of a powerful Waymaster (a magician who commands a Waystation (which is a magical train station)). It helps that the young girl is an immensely powerful sorceress. It doesn’t help that she is a cynic. But will that be enough to stop the Shadows and find Tommy’s grandfather? And did I mention that Tommy has NO idea how to use the staff? All he can do is make light! Things are about to get very interesting.
What I Thought: I read a lot and I read a lot of magic stories. It is very cool when I come across something very different. This is an amazing book. I was really blown away by the story. Mr. Kerr has created a unique world of magic that can take place anywhere on Earth. It wasn’t until about half-way through the book that I realized that the book takes place right before World War II (one conversation is between 2 experienced magicians wondering if Hitler is some magician of the voice, or just a guy good at speaking (because he rallied so many people)) . Then I had an AH HA! moment. It isn’t that the setting isn’t described well – Mr. Kerr’s writing is top-notch (it’s just that all of the details clicked. Like I realized that the “theater” mentioned was an acting theater, not a movie theater.). The plot line is solid and the story totally entertaining. Tommy is a great character, and while the protagonist is 14, the book could easily be early Young Adult or late Middle Grade because of the length and reading level of the book. It’s the kind of story you can really get lost in. Tommy has confidence and knowledge that he doesn’t know he has. You cheer him on throughout the book. There is no graphic violence in the book (people get attacked by magical creatures, a person dies, people get shot at, etc., but none of it is gory or graphic).
This book’s recipe:
a good-sized handful of magic,
2 boatloads of adventure and excitement,
1 cup of monsters, finely minced,
& 1 dash of history,
I can’t wait for Book 2! – Could you tell I REALLY liked this one? 😉