Narrated by Julie Hinton
Clarence’s father is dying from some unknown illness. A Reaper comes by every day to see if he’s ready to travel the long road to Ganedyn, which I’m assuming is paradise. Many who travel the road don’t need it. While his mother’s willing to sacrifice years from her life, she doesn’t want the kids, Clarence and Jessi, doing the same. Desperate they resort to different tactics. Jessi sneaks next door and steals a bird from the Neighbor’s garden. That buys a little time. Clarence goes to speak to the neighbor and gets sent on a quest to dislodge the Reaper in the Tree, who’s presence there is pretty much the source of the problem.
- World-building (3/5) – A lot of imagination went into creating this bleak, colorless world. Much of the lore is explained fairly naturally, but the worlds don’t make much sense. There’s a normal, mortal world, a paradise, and The End. Part of what bothered me is the naming system or lack thereof. The Neighbor, the Red Reaper, The Reaper in the Tree, etc. I wish they had real names instead of titles. Caggers (sorry about spelling) are fears from one of the worlds creeping into the mortal realm.
- Characters (3.5/5) – Clarence, Wakoba, and Jessi are stereotypical questing kids. Clarence is the one given the quest. Jessi’s his sister, the brave one who carries a bat around. Wakoba’s the timid friend who has to face his fears to fulfill his part of the quest.
- Plot (3/5) – It follows a logical path, but I don’t get a good sense of the world space or time passing. Part of that might be that time in the dark place they travel to (forest?) and nearing the Pit gets skewed. The characters go from one conversation to another talking about what’s happening with little actually happening until the final confrontation.
- It’s 100% kid-friendly.
- Disclaimer – it’s probably more literature-based fantasy than I’m used to. There are probably deep roots of moral lessons in here about taking care of the Earth/world you have, one person making all the difference, and the power of kids. Guess I just look for more direct, sword or bow-wielding action in my fantasy. There are plenty of scythes about because of the Reapers, but there are too many restrictions on them to make for a good old-fashioned fight. (Can’t kill a reaper with his own weapon.)
Fans of RK Gold will probably enjoy this tale. Those who gravitate to Middle Grade literature too might find lots to love within. It reminds me of Treasure: Seed Savers by S. Smith. They’re both books about a world on the brink of collapse due to mismanagement of resources.
Associate links to follow…
(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 ….)
The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.
If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.
Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.
Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.