Meet Alexander Drake, a curious young man living in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father. He spent his days playing alone. In the back of his mind he wondered what happened to his mother, and why his father was tight-lipped about the past; but secrets have a way of getting out. It all started with a stay at his grandmother’s cottage. Alexander found strange clues tucked away in his father’s old bedroom. With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack he set off on an innocent search for answers about his family. When he discovered a secret passageway the search took a dramatic turn. He suddenly worried about what was searching for him. Alexander was being hunted by a sorcerer from his father’s past. Answers lead to more questions and the journey of his life. Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra’s Pith, a place of beauty and magic… but beware—something evil lurks in the shadows.
When Alexander arrived in Verhonia, something went terribly wrong. A dark spell delivered from the mountains of Acadia sent him on a dangerous journey in the middle of the night. As he marched into the mountains, the great city of Verhonia was ambushed and burned to the ground by Roman’s army of vicious giant murks. With the safety of the realm in jeopardy, General John William Drake was asked to come back to Azra’s Pith. He swore he would never return. But after discovering his son was under a spell and in the grips of a dark sorcerer, he had no choice. Things take a wild turn in the mountains, with runaways, a hungry wolf and a mysterious, young empyrean wizard thrown into the adventure. A tight race against time and evil is in full swing. With faith and a little magic, they just might come out on top.
Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.
Paul again, before I move on to my review, here is the Goodreads blurb:
Alexander Drake is a curious young man. He lives in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father and spends his days playing alone. Where is his mother? And why is his father so tight-lipped about the past?
But secrets have a way of getting out. And a stay at his grandmother’s cottage provides strange clues to his father’s past. A past Alexander is determined to find out about.
What I liked best: I really like the messages in this story. Libera’s comment about helping Alexander (when Alexander is hurt) because Alexander trusts him and he is his friend really is a nice message to send to children. Another message in the story that I liked was the lesson Alexander learns from Ferdinand. Alexander realizes that being different can make one extraordinary. These lessons are great for young readers and will be learned and accepted as they are integrated seamlessly into the story. Sometimes readers are beaten over the head with messages, that is certainly not the case here.
What missed a bit: I grew a bit tired of all the characters referring to Alexander as “boy”. It got a bit tedious. Another miss for me was the “cliffhanger” ending. Those of you that have read my posts before know that I am not a fan of these. I really enjoyed this book and will happily read the next one in the series, but I do not like feeling like I have to for closure. I won’t reveal the cliffhanger because that would be a spoiler. For that, you will have to read the book yourself.
Overall: I liked the story a lot. It has great characters and character development. It is exciting and humorous. All in all it was very good. I really enjoyed the final pages as answers were unveiled and things really gathered steam. A very exciting book that should be on all parents and children’s “to read” list.