By: Kurt Chambers
Summary: How could a modern day girl like Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? Even with her own vivid imagination, the place for other realms belonged in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thought, until she stumbled across a hidden curio shop and an even stranger shopkeeper. He gives her a gift that resembles an antique snow dome, but this is not an ordinary globe. The world Charlotte has always known disappears as she’s spirited away into a mystical land.
This is the beginning of a lifelong friendship that changes Charlotte’s life forever. Discovered by a young elf alone in the forest, she embarks on a journey in search of a group of travelling Entertainers. She encounters heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her newfound companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.
But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was. (via Goodreads)
Truth Teller is the first novel I’ve read by Kurt Chambers, and though wasn’t quite what I expected going in, it was an interesting and fun read.
- Protagonist That Acts Their Age: I’ve noticed a large trend in YA books in which the protagonists are rarely portrayed as the age the author sets for them. As a writer myself, I understand how difficult this can be at times because the protagonist needs to be the hero, and yet is seldom older than 17 in order to keep the story in the Young Adult genre. What I particularly enjoyed about this story is that Charlotte is a ten-year-old who is not afraid to let her innocence and unfamiliarity with the world shine through.
- Dynamic Characters: Soon after Charlotte falls into the magical realm, we are introduced to an array of diverse characters that really help bring the world to life.
- Pace/Stakes: I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was, but something within the first few chapters made this novel hard to get into for me. By the time Charlotte tumbled into the other realm, I knew very little about her, and there was nothing to make me care whether or not she returned home. Even though I could relate to Charlotte’s fear after being plunged into the unknown, I had a hard time attaching myself to her as a character.
- The Setting: Let me be clear: the setting is vivid and quite a feat to behold. This was not a case of a poorly flushed out environment; rather an unfortunate circumstance of differing expectations. This book took a turn into the realm of high fantasy, a genre that, much as I love other kinds of fantasy, I cannot seem to get into. Therefore this unexpected jump made it hard for me to enjoy the book as much as I would’ve liked.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars. Even though Truth Teller was not what I anticipated, it was still a solid first book. The writing is well crafted and it will serve as an intriguing introduction for younger children into the world of high fantasy.
Recommendation: Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Summary: For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.
Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most. (via Goodreads)