Title: The Fortress
Author: Faye Carlisle
Review: The opening correspondence in this novel was great, it was dark and foreboding and reminds me greatly of a few series I have read such as the Harry Potter series and the Magisterium series. I loved how an objective was set and I hope the book will lead this objective to a part or full resolution. I loved meeting Cameron, Sam and Anna they are an amazing quirky group and the setting is divine.
The first few chapters do progress quickly, far quicker than I expected but it doesn’t take much to figure out that the boy in the prophecy is Cameron. I would have like a slightly longer introduction to the school itself and how it was run and possibly some more background on our protagonists to help establish the bond between reader and character. But still I can’t wait to see where the story goes. I also really loved the artwork throughout the novel, it was extremely relevant to the story and was done in a brilliant manner.
I loved the take on elemental magic and how Carlisle has used it in a slightly different way than I have seen before making it unique and quite a fun, fast paced read. I loved how the kids are thrown into some seriously dangerous situations almost immediately after leaving the Kodo school. My favorite so far is Anna as she is a very strong person and shows very good fighting ability. I also like Cameron but he feels very eager to do as he is told rather than question the value of his own life like a normal person would but then again this would be a side affect of conditioning.
Even though story progressed quickly which is great for children as they don’t want to sit still for ages I did feel certain parts felt a little rushed. An example of this would be when Cameron is questioning the pawn shop owner over whether the Sinisters’ have been through town. I felt personally that this scene should have been longer and the owner should have hesitated more about children about the Sinisters’ and maybe a bribe could have been introduced as he owns a pawn shop he could have been motivated by money as the area is obviously impoverished but these decisions are left to the author.
As we approached the half way point in the novel I was very interested in how the story was progressing and where it would finish as there has been a constant sense of foreboding from the very beginning. I really enjoyed the relationships between the characters and how well they worked together although I’d feel some of the action scene should have been a tad longer. Another thing I applauded was the fact each of the main protagonists have a signature ability, Sam can navigate, Anna has visions and Cameron can control the four elements. As the group find the fortress it is heavily guarded and all have the feeling one of the three keys they seek are hidden somewhere and the obviously place is the center of the maze in which they are now stuck.
In the final section of the novel the group have gotten the key but there is still no sign of Sam’s uncle Peter. And to top it all off they now have to face the Sinister. The final battle between Cameron and one of the Sinister was great in terms of a children’s book but I was just expecting a little more pace and fluidity as it just felt a little hurried causing the whole scene to lose part of impact it should have had. The ending of the novel was conclusive and rounded up the story well. I also like the excerpt from the next story which I can’t wait to read.
Overall I really liked the main protagonists and how they all interacts together. The setting and plot were really well thought out despite certain parts feeling a little rushed. In conclusion I would highly recommend this book to middle grade children but also to anyone that enjoyed books like the Magisterium series as this book follow similar theme.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by the author
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