Tuesday, January 22, 2019

MG Fantasy Review of Thomas Wildus and The Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen

43182855Thomas Wildus and The Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen 
Format:  Ebook
Publisher: Elandrian Press
Number of Pages: 364
Publishing:  February 2nd, 2019
Source:  Review copy provided by Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review.
Opening Line: "Hey Wildus, you ready?"

It's been years since Thomas last saw his father, but he hasn't forgotten the last words  his father said to him, "magic is real."  Since then, Thomas has been holding on to those words while looking for someone to take him seriously in his quest to learn magic.  He's not interested in the kind of magic tricks that magicians perform, he wants to learn real magic.  When Thomas makes a special trip to an old book shop, his father's words begin to have a new meaning.  Thomas not only acquires an ancient book called the Book of Sorrows from the kindly, but mysterious owner with gold-flecked eyes, he also learns there's more to his father's disappearance than he knew and that hidden within him are magical abilities that put him and his mother in potential danger. 

At first glance, Thomas may seem like an average kid.  He loves to read, has been taking Kung Fu lessons for years and especially wants to learn how to perform real magic.  Like your typical twelve-year-old, he hangs out with his best friend Enrique, together they have fun at school competing in their favorite game of doddle wars.  Each time trying to one-up each other by making the other person laugh at their drawings.   The story also contains a bully, but the plot doesn't center on him but rather how Thomas tries to befriend the boy being bullied and bring him into his fold of friends.  It's so nice to see a story with a character who's not fighting or running from the bully but is actively trying to be there for the kid who's being bullied.     

In exchange for borrowing the book from Huxley, the bookseller, Thomas agrees to abide by certain rules to protect and maintain its secrecy.  The Book of Sorrows is both magical and mysterious, with each chapter that Thomas reads, the cover seems to change adding new details and becomes more vivid in its coloring.  Eventually illustrating how the title is fitting to the story it tells him of Isham the magician and the beast that he unleashes.   It isn't long before Thomas encounters a threatening figure who at first stalks him in a van, lurking in his periphery as he's riding his bike.  Then things begin to escalate when an attempt is made to kidnap Thomas.  Fearful, Thomas turns to Huxley and Professor Reilly, a physicist who knew his father.  Together they explain the links between the Book of Sorrows, magic, quantum physics and the magical crystals that they must recover to stop an evil maniac from reawakening the crystals power and destroying the world.   Overall, I thought Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows was a fun story that included some nice messaging, had the right amount of suspense and danger and thought the inclusion of physics brought an interesting touch.    

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