Book Review by Debbie Winkler
Author: Rie Sheridan
Publisher: LTDBooks (February 2004)
ISBN: 1553165500, EAN: 9781553165507
Page Count: 106 pages
Target Age Group: children ages 9 – 12
My Rating:3.5/5 stars, An Action-Packed Fantasy for the Younger Set
Teman did his best to survive on the streets ever since his mother died and he was forced out of his home. He was only twelve, though, so he had to be careful to avoid all of the bullies as well as try and find somewhere decent to sleep at night where he wouldn’t freeze. When the wizard Velachaz approached him one evening, Teman couldn’t pass up the powerful man’s offer for a bed and a full belly. Everyone knew that Velachaz was a powerful dark wizard, of course, but Teman was almost too desperate to care. So Teman was surprised when they arrived at Velachaz’s home to discover that the man whose name was only spoken of in whispers throughout the kingdom was actually crippled on his right side. Velachaz had to spend a lot of energy and effort to keep up the illusion of his invincibility and was looking for a bright lad to help him out and Teman seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They were both pleasantly surprised to discover that Teman had a natural affinity for magic and Teman quickly became Velachaz’s apprentice as well as errand boy.
While Teman was gathering some supplies for his master, he ran into the gallant knight, Galen, who narrowly avoided killing Teman and himself for Galen was truly the clumsiest person that Teman had ever met. However, Galen was a knight, clumsy or not, and was off to slay a dragon laying waste to a corner of the kingdom. Galen’s family had more or less forced him to try to slay the dreadful dragon because they would lose all of their land if he did not. Teman decided that if anyone needed help on his quest, it was Galen. Luckily, Galen turns out to be Velachaz’s nephew and so Teman is off on his first grand adventure. Along the way, he will meet the fairie folk, learn new magic spells, have a cat-woman ensorcell him, and confront the dragon itself…
This is an action-packed fantasy for younger readers. The tale is well written, but it is almost too full of adventures. Any one of the things that Teman does or any of the people that he encounters could have been a book all by itself so it was a little bit too relentless of a pace to have them all in one. Still, younger readers will enjoy the book because Teman does dabble in almost every aspect of traditional fantasy so it is a good introduction to that. Due to the involved plot, however, there is little if any character development and, while the characters are likeable, they are definitely 2-dimensional and you don’t really feel anything for them. Still, it is a short, fun read for those looking for something a bit more off the beaten path.
This book contains quite a bit fighting and violence, but is written in such a way that it is still appropriate for younger readers. Recommended for ages 8 and up.