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TITLE: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows
BY: J.M. Bergen
SERIES: The Elandrian Chronicles #1
GENRE/S: Childrens/Middle Grade, Fantasy
PUBLICATION: February 2nd 2019 by Elandrian Press
NOTE: I read this book for our book club, Middle Grade Marvels, and I, along with the members of MGM book club received copies from the publicist in exchange for honest reviews.
Thomas thinks he’s an ordinary twelve-year old, but when a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes gives him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows, the world he knows is turned upside down. Suddenly he’s faced with a secret family legacy, powers he can hardly begin to understand, and an enemy bent on destroying everything he holds dear. The more he reads and discovers, the deeper the danger to himself and the people he loves. As the race to the final showdown unfolds, Thomas must turn to trusted friends and uncertain allies as he seeks to prevent destruction at an epic scale.
I love reading first books of fantasy series because I enjoy discovering fictional/magical worlds for the first time. That is, of course, if it’s done well. In this book, I liked the feeling that I was discovering the magical world alongside the protagonist, Thomas. And because of this I felt more connected with Thomas. But still, regarding the magic aspect, Thomas’ reactions throughout the book threw me off a bit.
In the beginning, he seemed to believe in magic easily enough, or at least willing enough to believe that magic indeed exists. But then, after some time, I noticed that he acts more surprised and confused about everything that’s magical. Maybe it’s because in the beginning, his father’s last words are in his mind. But it’s more believable if he’s more confused, skeptical, or hesitant in the beginning rather than later in the story.
The first half of the book suffers from too-much telling. When it comes to magical books, I expect every aspect to come alive to make it more magical and that often achieved with showing more rather than telling. Sadly this book lacks in that area, at least the first half of the book does. It was really boring at first. I even found the first scene cliche. This is a magic book for younger audience and I think it’s very important that the readers are hooked right from the very first scene. But then it picks up in the second half. Suddenly, it’s action-packed and I’m satisfied.
There were a plethora of characters and I like them all enough. Though I still find them underdeveloped and in need of more depth. But this is only book 1 so there’s more time for development. I do love Thomas. He’s such a sweet kid. I love how he is to his mom, even without his father, who left seven years ago. By the way, the mystery of his dad’s absence is what hooked me to keep reading after finding the first chapter boring. Thomas wasn’t sure what happened to his dad and I wanted to know. Another thing, Thomas’ friendship with Enrique is amazing.
Lastly, I found the Book of Sorrows itself a little disappointing. I was expecting more from it. I was so thrilled when Thomas was given the book of sorrows and when he inspected the box it’s in for the first time, I was excited…but then, the pacing gets really slow.
RATING: 3 blissful pages with lilies
Despite my issues, I still think that this book is a nice start for a series. Overall, it’s a magical read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J.M.’s debut fantasy/magic series originally started as a bedtime story for his oldest son. The story turned into a saga, and one book turned into five. When J.M. isn’t working on the Thomas Wildus books, you can find him playing with his kids, napping, or dreaming up new adventures.
If you ever meet him and can’t think of anything to talk about, you might ask about Herman the Shark, the Kai and Eli stories, or why Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip is his all-time favorite book. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll have questions and stories of your own (if you do, he’ll think that’s far more interesting).
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.
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