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Mantle: The Return of the Sha Kindle Edition
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|Length: 432 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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When a new writer of fantasy adventure novels offers a map of the make believe land where his story will happen as the opening page of a book, the reader immediately feels drawn into the story, as though visualizing the fantasy will be in the comfort zone. And so we see the land of Mantle with its four kingdoms before Gary offers a terse but spellbinding prologue: `Enveloped in darkness, the children of Menagraff begin to take shape, slowly drawing the dust of evil from the womb of Mount Narciss. In the final stages of their development, it will be the distinctive singular horn that will complete their arrival. Their birth has been accelerated by the return of the second prince, and they require only the return of the third to complete their metamorphosis from soil to beast. Once complete, it will be their father and king who will hand them their ability to awaken. They will then pull themselves from the mountain to battle against the innocence and good virtue of the three allied kingdoms-- returning balance between good and evil to the land of Mantle.' Mystery, creative characters taking form, and the story begins.
Gary brings enough of the detail of the story in the synopsis to assure we will be ready for this fist installment of an ongoing series: `In the land of Mantle lie four kingdoms. Three of these kingdoms prosper in peace as friends and allies, while the fourth was forgotten long ago. Enveloped in darkness in the forgotten Kingdom of Skite, the children of Menagraff begin to take shape--slowly drawing the dust of evil from the womb of Mount Narciss. Their birth has been accelerated by the return of the second prince, and they require only the return of the third to complete their metamorphosis from soil to beast. Once complete, it will be their father and king, Menagraff, who will hand them their ability to awaken. They will then pull themselves from the mountain to battle against the innocence and good virtue of the three allied kingdoms--returning balance between good and evil to the land of Mantle. Their fight against the peaceful kingdoms will not be so easily won, however. While most everyone in the Kingdom of Forris has magical abilities of some kind (such as Animal-speak), eleven-year-old Lizabet Abbot was seemingly born without any magical gifts of her own. But Lizabet does have a gift, and when Menagraff rises against the friendly kingdoms of Mantle, her abilities prove to be far more powerful than anyone could have imagined.'
Another trait that suggests success is an authors ability to provide identification with the more-realistic cast members and Gary masters this early on: `Dorian Bellows, who lived with his parents nearby, was [Lizabet's] only true friend. Unlike the others, he saw past her magical shortcomings, and visited her often on the small farm where she lived with her Aunt Roni, brother Jonathan, and sister Bella.' So we have solid fantasy paired with identifiable characters in a very strange land - and all that appears to be a solid start for the new career of Gary Bregar. Grady Harp, September 15
This is a very YA book, in that, as an adult who loves YA, I found this story very shallow, predictable, and trite. It had every YA trope from insta-love to poor orphan finds herself the most special person in the kingdom. I find myself totally disagreeing with all the glowing reviews that say this is a deep, epic story. If you are looking for deep and epic, I'd look more for Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, The Rhithmatist, etc.), Rachel Aaron (the Legend of Eli Monpress, Nice Dragons Finish Last, etc.), and the like.
The author has a wonderfully creative imagination and reading about the magic of Mantle is fascinating. I think that young adults and their parents, as well as adults, will appreciate the many positive, uplifting messages that are contained throughout the story.
Hopefully there will be a follow up book, as I will be first in line to buy it.
Lizabet is a precocious and kind 11 year old girl who despite her circumstance had not become the dreaded preteen rebel. She is sweet and the type of girl that you continue to hope good things will happen to. The author did a wonderful job creating the characters who are lively and animated. I am a huge science fiction and fantasy fan so I'm always thrilled when authors take the time to provide visual clues and go in depth with making their worlds. The depth and creativeness of the story is captivating and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book of the series!