Monday, May 11, 2015

Book 4: Andy Smithson Resurrection of the Phoenix's Grace

LeeSince the age of eight, L.R.W. Lee wanted to write a children's book, but felt she did not have anything significant to share; she sought to change lives while entertaining.  A degree in Accounting did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, so she waited.  Over a decade, she founded and grew a company, during which, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned uncommon thinking that changed her life.  After selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.  L.R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son.  

25270361Published: April 27th, 2015 by Woodgate Publishing
Genres: MG Fantasy 
Pages: 228 pages
Format: Ebook
Source:  In exchange for an honest review, an ebook was provided by the author for free. 

Find the book: Goodreads *  Amazon 

"When Andy landed back home, little did he realize the hunt Abaddon would initiate to capture and punish him for thwarting his plans for eternal life for yet a third time. Meanwhile, when Methuselah unexpectedly extends in Mom's hand while in Texas, something it has never done for him, it triggers more revelations about her past. 

After a frustrating and, at times, terrifying year, Andy returns to Oomaldee and joins Hans’ quest to locate the only surviving heir to the throne of Cromlech. In the process, Andy and company discover the Giant’s Ring, the center of Cromlech’s healing powers, has been destroyed by Abaddon’s evil sorcerer. While unthinkable, the situation grows dire when Andy finds that the phoenix who rose from that land millennia before has returned to be reborn and the evil mage has trapped her inside the decimated Ring. Without the freedom to collect the materials she needs to build a pyre, she will die. Andy knows failure is not an option for he needs a feather from this phoenix as the next ingredient to break the curse. 

With the clock ticking, will Andy and his friends free the phoenix in time? Will they be able to fix the Ring and restore Cromlech’s healing powers? Will Andy collect a phoenix feather?" (Summary from Goodreads)

Andy has been home for quite sometime, eagerly awaiting word for what happened after he left Oomaldee.   His last recollections were of Abaddon vowing to kill the person who wielded Methuselah.   But, Andy has been left waiting for  over a year without even a message from the King or his friends.  Its left him frustrated and concerned. That is until the next clue arrives with hints to his next task.

"A song so pure
Trills listeners to tears.
A sacrifice, a giving, 
And new life appears.

Yellow, crimson, orange, or red,
Fire-touched or unscorched, shed.
A quill of this warbler
No creature hath bred"

 When Zolts are able to break the barrier surrounding Oomaldee and attack Andy in the real world,  Andy's mother sends him back to Oomaldee for his protection.  Here he meets Hans, who is on a quest to find Princess Yara, the only survivor to the throne of Cromlech.  Andy must overcome what seems like insurmountable odds to try to find her, while also trying to solve his own task.   

I love reading MG fantasy, partly for the ability to escape into another world, but in the case of Lee's books, I also enjoy how they incorporate basic "life values" or principles in a seamless way and doesn't feel heavy handed.  The story takes place in three very different settings, real world, Oomaldee, and in visions or dreams of real events or others happening in the afterlife.   Resurrection of the Phoenix's Grace delves into the topics of responsibility, diligence, dignity, humility, and sacrifice.  A read that will leave you with ideas to ponder.

 "We are as strong as the love we choose to share."

While reading Resurrection of the Phoenix Grace,  I got the sense that the story was aging along with Andy, who is now thirteen.   Much in the same way that Harry Potter did across the series.  Which isn't a bad thing,  I think this allows Lee some flexibility in uping the danger and adventure in the story.  Andy isn't the perfect hero, he makes many mistakes of his own, but he is also learning from them and taking on new responsibilities of a teenager and future king.      Another way in which the story is aging is in the language, or words Lee chooses to use with words like "discordance, thwarted, trite,"  words like that reminding me of so many fantasy books that I read when I was younger.   Plus,  I appreciate a story that has an interesting premise, a plot that is fast paced, with lots of action and characters that show growth.   It's the kind of story that can be read with your child knowing wonderful discussions will ensue.  Imogenia is the one who surprised me the most in Resurrection of the Phoenix's Grace, and I grew a new appreciation for her character.  Imogenia appeared to realize her mistakes, make amends, and showed signs of seeking forgiveness.  Although she was conflicted about letting go of her hatred, she also realized that her hatred is changing her.  Qualities that make me believe that the series is as much about her growth as it is about Andy's.  Then add adventures, battles with ogres, gnomes stealing clothes, bats in caves and dwarfs, well that's just icing on the cake.  The one thing I still would love more of though is Andy's inneru, or inner voice that guides him.  With my favorite scene being where Andy's inneru reminds him to "think outside the box" and that his choices affect more than just him. 

I loved that Lee included some fascinating trivia at the back of the book which highlight much of the symbolism in the series, as well as the meaning behind each of the titles names in the series.   You can read my thoughts about her other books here:  Book 1: Andy Smithson Blast of the Dragons FuryBook 2: Venom of the Serpent's Cunning and Book 3: Disgrace of the Unicorn's Horn.  Resurrection of the Phoenix Grace was a wonderfully creative, imaginative story that incorporates positive values in a fun entertaining way.  Highly recommend this wonderful continuation of the Andy Smithson series, and once again I find myself selecting a new favorite.  Can't wait to see what is next for Andy and his friends.   

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great MG fantasy series. And since the characters are growing up a bit, the series can grow with middle graders reading it. Hadn't heard of this series. Thanks for letting us know about it.