Spurkan Archipelago by Craig Parsons
Fans of Narnia will appreciate this action/adventure novel for kids.
Publisher’s Description: Nobody would ever expect what happens when Orgel, Clayton, Trina, Farzik, and Brindy gather on the beach one day, at the edge of the Vorhees Sea.
A mighty spell is unleashed upon Kordal placing their families in grave danger and jeopardizing their very existence.
Determined to reverse the enchantment, the five friends embark on the journey of a lifetime—setting sail for the island of Jenflu, a mysterious land where magic thrives and time stands still.
Orgel and his companions befriend unlikely, but lovable characters, including an anxious snail named Eely and a jolly, cheery camel named Choop—whose heart is made of gold.
As they search for the secrets behind the enchantment, they must learn to rely on the strengths they discover within themselves and each other as they journey across the island…ever fearful of being captured by Verlox, the wicked king of Jenflu who rules with an iron fist.
Fans of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia will love this captivating new series.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
Five children find their homeland completely frozen after a spell cast by accident. Now they’re off to a magical land called Jenflu to help save their families. But Jenflu is ruled by the vicious King Vorlax – and he’ll do anything to stop them.
What I liked: This has so many creative plots. For instance, everyone on Jenflu has their own unique spell. But they can only cast it so many times before it bounces back to the caster. So let’s say there’s a character that can turn things into rope – if he uses it too much, he then becomes a rope himself.
There’s also invisible sand, magical vegetation, and characters that appear differently and yet live in harmony. The King himself seems to be part dragon, complete with spikes on his back and angry eyes. T
The adventure is great too as the characters find themselves facing challenge after challenge.
What I didn’t like: Waaaayy too many details. The plot slows down because of it, becoming sluggish in parts as the characters want to describe each and every little thing as they encounter it. It took me entirely too long to read this book because I just became bored at certain points in the story. It really has a great plot but a terrible set up. I just couldn’t help but drift. Sometimes I find I couldn’t remember certain character names because they were so many details overwhelming it.
What I’d recommend: As an author, I hate to be critical of someone else’s hard work. But the future potential-agent-in-me says that I can be critical so long as it’s constructive. So, here’s my advice to the author.
Be sure you know what kind of audience you’re targeting. My recommendation? Stick to the middle-grade genre. You have the comradery, the innocence, and the silly characters down perfectly. Readers can also tell that the main characters are growing throughout the story. I’d change a few things (like don’t mention the word rapist, go with thieves instead near the end) and the overwhelming details. If I got distracted, kids might too. You can still have the characters in the book embarking on this wonderful journey without having to worry about certain details. Be simple. Short. Imaginative. You have a wonderful plot here that would engage children if you didn’t worry about the little things. Don’t weigh it down with unimportant details that distract from the plot.
You can tell from the ending that there will probably be a sequel – Brindy’s necklace has to mean something, right? I’d still love to read it, especially if the author heeds my advice.
Until then, sadly, I can only manage to give this a two.
If you like this book…