23 September 2015

SERIES REVIEW: Legend of Rhyme

(Copy provided by NetGalley and Blue Moon.)

From Goodreads:

"Four-year-old Asher Caine vanishes while playing near the woods one day with his twin sister Ariana. Eventually, his family believes him to be dead. In the Kingdom of Falmoor, twins are cursed. Ever since the evil sorcerer Larque turned the good witch Elora to stone, all twins in the Kingdom are doomed to be separated, either through death or mysterious disappearances.

Now about to turn thirteen, Ariana learns that her brother is alive, and she must find him in order to save Falmoor. With their magic blood and powerful bond, the Caine twins must release Elora from her stone imprisonment. Only then will Larque be stopped from spreading darkness throughout the kingdom.

Will the twins find each other in time? Can they save Falmoor from evil and remove the curse of the twins forever?"


The people at Blue Moon are nice, nice folks. I requested what was the third in the Legend of Rhyme series, Teagan of Tomorrow, and they were kind enough to send me the first two books in the series, Elora of Stone and Into Coraira. There was enough backstory included in Teagan that I wouldn't have been too lost, but it was great having the full story. 

These books are perfect middle-grade fantasy. All the usual characters are there--unicorns, pegasi, fairies, pixies, witches and sorcerers--so there isn't a need for extensive world-building. The audience already has a handle on this kind of stuff. There are more twisty family relationships than the entire Star Wars series put together, and they bring a number of surprises to the story. I wasn't sure how I would handle the twin curse--I can't stand it when a parent has to lose a child, in stories or in real life--but while it's heartbreaking, the curse also ends up being turned to very clever ends. Also, the pixies were mischievous and made me laugh. I could absolutely picture them and their antics, and they did an excellent job of lightening the story. 

Unfortunately, the first two novels lacked depth, especially in their characterization. The reader is told several times, for instance, that the twins' mother, Gwendolyn, has a pure heart, but there are few demonstrations of it. The same with their father, Lochlan, and his magical ability--I would have loved to see more of what he could and couldn't do. I really would have loved to see more of their relationship develop--the little instances that brought them together and maybe hinted at the twisted family relationships that would haunt their lives. And Novah's relationship and care for the whole family was inexplicable--she had no ties to them that I could see and I immediately suspected the worst of her. These are things than can be glossed over for children, but as the reader matures, in my opinion it's better to let them "see" why things happen instead of just telling them. 

But by the third novel, Ariana and Asher, were well-rounded and believable. I loved watching them try to adapt to the situations they were thrown into. Teagan, too, was a fleshed-out character, and I liked her from the very start. She seemed spunky and capable of taking care of herself. Well, I also might be a sucker for any character who rides a skateboard. Skateboards are cool! And Grimblerod! His dining choices were questionable, but overall he's a sympathetic dark character, and I'm interested to see where his story goes.

Teagan of Tomorrow ends rather abruptly, right in the middle of the action. I'm left wanting more--never a bad thing--but it happened so suddenly I had to read the ending twice to make sure it was the end. Overall, I would happily hand these novels off to my own children and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Gentle Reader Alert: I found nothing of concern.

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