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The Adventurers Guild Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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"Clark and Eliopulos... establish a strong core of interesting male and female characters and thrust them into action, while setting up relationships, conflicts, and mysteries to explore in later volumes. With its quick pace and likable heroes, this fantasy adventure will readily find a following."―Booklist
"This tale is a page-turner that has the perfect mix of suspense, Princess Bride humor, and engaging characters, one that's definitely earned the sequel to come. A dazzling adventure sure to become a classic, if not a movie."―Kirkus
"Fast-paced adventure. The diverse group of friends... works solidly as a team, but secrets and divided loyalties create enough tension to keep things interesting...A cliffhanger of an ending sets up a larger conflict for the next volume, and readers will be eager to join the guild for their further adventures."―BCCB
"A solidly constructed world, endearing characters, and lots of fantasy-based adventure with fast-paced action."―School Library Journal
"Hazards, betrayals, and quick-witted banter abound in this gripping series opener... Clark and Eliopulos weave a thread of post-apocalyptic adventure into a classic questing saga, replete with spells, enchanted weaponry, and mythological beings--elves, kobolds, gelatinous goo, and more."―Publishers Weekly
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On the annual culling day, Zed is equal parts terrified and exuberant. As the only son of a member of the Servants Guild, he has never known glory or wealth. Just setting foot into the inner city and all it’s riches and nobility gives him an uneasy feeling, no matter that his best friend is a part of that shiny and glittering world. Zed has looked forward to the day he would be sorted into a guild of his own for years, and not just because it would mean he’s finally growing up into a man and a fair contributor to his household, but because the day held hope. Real hope for something better for himself and for his mother. Real hope for a true sense of belonging.
Growing up without a father, Zed also grew up with a lot of questions. Half-mortal and half-elven and with no one around to help nurture the otherworldly side of him, Zed spent years wondering about the father he never knew who spent his time living outside the city gates in the elven land of Llethanyl. It used to be that the elves frequented the city of Freestone regularly, along with pilgrims from other lands and merchants from the sea. The great lands of far and wide used to mix and mingle, but that was before the Dangers. Elves had not set foot in the city of Freestone in more than 12 years; not since Zed’s mother and father had met and fallen in love.
Sitting in the back of his mind like a fox full of avid curiosity was the one thought that plagued him — Zed wondered if he might be special. If he might have a place in the guilds other than as a servant. If, perhaps . . . he was full of magic, mystery, and the wonders of mana. Full of all the mystical properties that seemed to call to him like the song of a siren.
Brock is Zed’s best friend, regardless of the fact that they come from two different worlds. The son of a successful merchant who helps to cultivate the sales and progression of Freestone’s carefully curated marketplace, Brock has always known his lot in life — to carry on in his father’s illustrious footsteps. And this fate doesn’t bring with it anything other than a quiet peace and contentment for the boy . . . he is fascinated by the inner workings of the vendors and their magical prowesses, and his mind works the way a banker’s should — full of figures and facts. But unfortunately for Brock, all it takes is one exchange with his father and the head of the Merchants Guild, Lord Quilby, and all of Brock’s dreams for the future are tainted like a slash of red across the purely driven snow. Instead of carrying in the family business, Brock is being drafted as a spy . . . and set on a mission to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Adventurers Guild.
The Adventurers Guild has long since been the first line of defense against the Dangers of the world outside the wooden gates that serve as protection from the wild. It’s also notoriously known as a haven for the blackguards, outcasts, rebels, and the general bottom of the barrel of Freestone’s inhabitants. They must accept any who asks to pledge their service, and they also have privileges that no other guild has — they can veritably poach anyone they want, from any guild they have already been sorted into, and they have their sights set on the young half-elven boy who has just found himself in the most advantageous and thrilling position of his young life.
Being swept away from his dreams isn’t easy, and Zed is even more surprised when his best friend Brock joins his ranks in the Adventurers Guild. Led by the impossibly crass and devastatingly wretched Alabasel Frond, the two boys find themselves wrapped up in capers and adventures beyond their wildest estimations, and beyond their physical capabilities most of the time. When they are tasked with the challenge of retrieving a priceless gem hidden deep within the walls of an abandoned and ancient elven temple, Zed and Brock must call upon every ounce of their faith and brains, while taking a blind leap into the great unknown with only the promise of glory to soften their fall.
The Adventurers Guild is the debut novel by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos; both New Yorkers and purveyors of the fantasy-driven Dungeons and Dragons. The novel pulls heavily from the fantasy world, leaning on tried-and-true characters such as elves and magicians, and creating a treasure-hunting quest for the heroes by standards that would make Frodo and Sam proud. The characters are richly imagined and unique in the sense that there are just as many female characters as there are male; Alabasel Frond is in fact the head of the Adventurers Guild and a worthy adversary, and the heroes can’t seem to get along without their female companion Liza, who has Hermione Granger’s wit and Arya Stark’s imposing skill on the battlefield.
The first in a series that is sure to captivate the mid-grade reader’s minds and attitudes, The Adventurers Guild has earned a solid 5 out of 5 stars from me. There are few things I like more in a book than magic, and this novel has it in spades. From the illusionary woman who sells bewitched tokens in her tent to the frightfully delightful blob of a demon sloshing his (or I guess, her?) way around a temple forbidden to humans, The Adventurers Guild gave me all I craved for in a freshly new way. I recommend this book to readers 10+ and hope you’ll enjoy this world full of sorcery and swords as much as I did.
One thing that this book did remind me of is table top gaming. Which I will admit—I cannot get into. However, the creativity and storytelling capabilities have translated well into this novel.
The friendship between Zed and Brock was endearing. I loved how they supported one another and had each other's back.
My favorite character, however, was a supporting character named Jett. He's a young dwarf that sacrificed himself for a friend and thus became disabled. I don't want to spoil too much here but I absolutely adored the fact that Jett didn't let his disability keep him from his quest. I'm really excited to see how they incorporate him into future installments. I'm sure many of my reader base knows that I'm a mom to special needs children so I loved to see a hero with a disability for children to look up to. It warmed my heart to see Jett still treated with respect and as a valued member of the team.
After reading I turned this book over to my twelve-year-old and she hasn't stopped fangirling since she read it. I actually had to tweet the authors to ask when the next installment was coming (fall 2018) so she'd stop bugging me about it!
Overall, this book was an enjoyable, quick read. I would suggest it to families that like tabletop gaming and fantasy books. Parents and children alike will be able to enjoy!
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
It has been SO long since a middle grade fantasy novel has done that for me.
It was SO good. I can't even words right now. Usually, my fangirling is saved for YA or adult books, but The Adventurers Guild is definitely worth a girly squeal or two.
It's told in the third person, split between Zed and Brock. Both boys are young and hoping to be selected by prestigious guilds during the guildculling ceremony in their city. The selection will determine their rank, job, and title for the rest of their lives.
In a surprising twist of fate, both boys end up in the Adventurers Guild, which is charged with protecting their city from magical monsters that live outside the city walls. While an important guild, it's misunderstood and feared by most people.
There is so much action in the book. The characters roped me in and the suspense kept me turning pages as fast as I could.
It's a little bit like Divergent with the city separated into guilds, each with a different job to perform. It also reminded me of Harry Potter with the magic, a young mage, and a group of tight-knit friends battling magical creatures and solving a mystery the adults can't.
If I had to take a guess as to which new book series is going to be on every kid's wish-list, this is it.
It's well written, exciting, and full of surprises. Kids and their parents are going to love this book. My daughter started reading it after I finished and she's just as hooked as I was.
Content: Perilous situations, and some frightening/suspenseful scenes.
Source: The publisher sent me a copy of this book.