From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—In the first book, the forest monster is legendary among the kids in Justin's New England town, and they play a game mocking the creature. Justin, however, feels sure that there is something truly evil in the woods. He's seen the moving shadows and the yellow eyes glaring out from the trees. He wonders about the odd path of iron rods-and he believes that he is destined to confront the fiend-and whatever is behind it. In Heir
, Ryan, 14, just wants to fit in, but odd things keep happening. Ice cream completely melts in his hands, and unexpected fires ignite when he is near. When his parents reveal that he was found abandoned in the desert as a baby, he begins to understand that he is not from Earth. He dreams of his home world, long ago taken over by the evil Arachnovar. His best friend becomes possessed by a weird spiderlike creature, leading Ryan to discover that extraterrestrials are hunting him. To save the town from being taken over, Ryan must recover the ancient powers of the Fire Prince-or die trying. Although written in full-text style, both books show a graphic-novel influence-episodic, action-driven plots; highly visual descriptive imagery; and dramatic dialogue. The comic-book background is also evident in the heavily shadowed illustrations and dramatic cover art. These high-energy texts and engaging characters will attract reluctant readers as well as fantasy fans.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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