Prologue: Imogenia finds herself in the afterlife terminal contemplating where she is to go next. She has narrowed her options down to Peace Paradise, and Unfinished Business. Since her demise and her brother ending her aspirations for being Queen by putting a dagger in her back, Imogenia has been plotting a way to get even with him. Imogenia enlists the help of her dearly departed mother and father and sets a curse in motion on her brother (King Heraclon) and the people of Oomaldee. The curse involves a perpetual dense fog across the land and an immortal King who must watch his kingdom grow further and further into despair. And so the curse goes on for 500 years, that is until the King and Queen decide that their son has learned his lesson and the curse should end. The Afterlife Council agrees but if and only if the King can find a way that doesn't break any of the rules of afterlife. And so King Kaysan has found a descendant who will end the curse. Yet, the King can not reveal himself to Andy or help him directly in ending the curse. But, both will have to deal with Imogenia's interference.
During this first part, I kept picturing Beatlejuice sitting on a couch up in the afterlife waiting to go see his counselor. Which for me, made this part amusing. Imogenia is pretty upset about how her brother treated her and I guess revenge is probably a natural reaction for her. The story then moves into modern times of Andy. Just your average kid who loves to play video games and is curious as a cat. While exploring a mysterious light in the attic, Andy stumbles upon a trunk and then is transported to medieval times where he meets King Heraclon. The King feels that Andy is the one who can break the curse and set everything right. Andy will have the assistance of another boy his age (Alden) and the wisdom of the King's wizard to help him. The first step in Andy's journey is to find a red dragon scale while avoiding the neighboring King Abbadon who has it out for Oomaldee.
Disclaimer: My PDF copy was provided by the author. L.R.W. Lee approached me because I have reviewed similar types of books in the past. She also requested that I approach the review from how I think a middle grader would enjoy the book.
Andy seemed like the kind of character that middle graders would easily relate to. He is trying to find his place, is insecure and trying to make the best of the situation that he is in but is making mistakes as he goes along. Andy's mistakes stem from the fact that he doesn't really listen to his conscience, or "inneru" as L.R.W. Lee refers to it. But, Andy learns that it is important to by the end of the story. Throughout the book there are messages about responsibility, patience, accepting others which mingled among the plot and at other times came out through dialogue. There is plenty of action, dragons, Mermen, a Pegasus, and the pace moves along fairly quickly. Did I mention it also has some very humorous parts relating to passing gas? Defiantly would appeal to a middle grader.
My confusion with the book is more in the setting and the overlap between Medieval and modern times. For example, Alden has neon green hair, the King is wearing modern clothing and knows alot about Andy's time. There are also inconsistencies with the curse and just how terrible it really is on the people of Oomaldee. Things I know middle graders would over look but I tend to notice while reading. Overall, there is a lot to really enjoy about this book. Would put it at around 10-12, mostly because of some dragon killing scenes. This is the first of a seven part series with Book 2 Venom of the Serpent's Cunning coming at the end of 2013. I will certainly be looking for the next book. Thank you again to the author for the opportunity to read and review her book. Those interested in reading the Prologue can go to the authors website at : http://www.lrwlee.com/#!prologue/chbo