Synopsis (from book): The annual Great Quest is about to be announced in Quendel, a task that will determine the future of Marcus and the other boys from the village who are coming of age. The wizard Zyll commands them to find the Rock of Ivanore, but he doesn’t tell them what the Rock is exactly or where it can be found. Marcus must reach deep within himself to develop new powers of magic and find the strength to survive the wild lands and fierce enemies he encounters as he searches for the illusive Rock. If he succeeds, he will live a life of honor; if he fails, he will live a life of menial labor in shame. With more twists and turns than a labyrinth, and a story in which nothing is at it seems, this tale of deception and discovery keeps readers in suspense until the end.
Richis Review: This was an excellent and quick book. The story itself wasn’t very original; a fairly typical coming of age fantasy novel, but it really didn’t matter because it was so enjoyable. There is plenty of action and adventure to keep things moving along and to keep it exciting, but there is also a balance of slower more thoughtful moments. There were a lot of similarities between this book and other fantasy series such as Lord of the Rings and Shannara, but it was presented in a different enough way to make it enjoyable, without feeling like it was a copy.
The story is nice and teaches good morals lessons through the actions of the good characters, such as friendship, caring for others even people you don’t know, forgiveness, mercy and accepting of those who are different from you. There were some twist and turns in the story, adult readers that are familiar with fantasy will more than likely guess what those are, but those who are less familiar probably won’t.
The characters are great, again nothing original but they had good personalities and there was good dynamics in the group. Xerxes (a talking walking stick) was hilarious and made a lot of great remarks. The characters also go through a lot of development through their quest, especially considering this is a fairly short book aimed and younger readers.
There were a couple of religious undertones, such as a character seeing what he thought was an angel, but there probably isn’t anything that would bother anyone no matter what their religious beliefs are.
This would be an excellent book for young readers who love fantasy, for anyone who is looking for a fun, quick fantasy book.
rated 4 ****