Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Emma Right an imprint of Telemachus Press (May 19, 2013)
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Sci-fi/Adventure
The ancient books were written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people; a Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? When Jules’ family home is ransacked to find his mother’s Ancient Book and his mother is kidnapped, he realizes the threat is real. Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules realizes who is a friend and who is a foe, and doesn’t get himself killed first.
Although the book is listed as YA, this is a wonderful read for kids 10 and upwards. Central to the plot and the family is Jules Blaze. There is a nice feel to his relationships with his four younger siblings, each of whom has a clearly defined character. Jules is responsible, a little over-anxious at times, but eminently likeable, with a noble heart. His strength and courage mark him as a strong leader in this quest. He faces dangers, disappointments, and betrayal with maturity. An important aspect of fantasy and sci-fi is world-building: it must be real and credible. Author Emma Right does a great job here, incorporating the magical with the mundane, and blending the mysterious with the dangerous in expert fashion. The Elfies are extremely small, hence their hazards are myriad: from aggressive birds, insects, and animals, to falling acorns, to natural elements, to the evil Lord Gehzurolle’s agents. The author weaves back history and Elfie information deftly into the plot enabling the action to race onward. There is a helpful cast list for younger readers, as well as a map (always a bonus) to help adventurers share this epic quest. I found the ending a little abrupt, but it hints of more action to come.
Keeper of Reign is currently free for Kindle, but that status could change at any time.
Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.