Saturday, December 12, 2009
Review: Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz
Publisher: iUniverse (June 29, 2009)
Genre: Fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, YA/Young teens
Paperback 264 pages
Book Source: the author
A teenage boy.A dark wizard.A mystic scroll. And the fate of a world hangs in the balance. . . When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help young princess Dara save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies. Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army.
But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a mighty African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk. Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.
I really, really, really, wanted to like this book, but I just cannot. It's not the
*story: which I think is very good, or the
*characters: which are comprised of different races and backgrounds, or the
*morals: which are sprinkled throughout the story, for example, everyone should just get along, racial harmony, believe in yourself, etc.
It's the writing. I think it's written for young people, like ages 10 and up. This represented the real problem for me, because I could not get past that. After reading about half of the book, I skimmed the rest to get the basic idea and ending. I'm sorry but I just could not get past the writing. I felt as though it was written for young teenage boys, and that is completely cool with me. I am not meant to read and enjoy every book. I am not the target audience for this book, so I get that. Unfortunately, there are some things I can't ignore or push past.
As I stated previously, the basic story is quite good, and I like how the Defenders represent different cultures and times, to teach acceptance and harmony. That's awesome and I wish more books would do that. Alex also has a lot of self doubt but he realizes he needs to pick himself up and soldier on. You can't run from your problems, but give your best effort and at least you will know you tried. Another good lesson for kids to learn.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the art in the book, including the cover, are excellent. The pages of the book are made to look like pages from a scroll. There are also full page pictures/drawings/sketches that are amazing. It put me in mind of a graphic novel.
I do think it's me and not the book. Look at all of these awards and things it has garnered:
Winner in the Fantasy category of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards
Finalist in the Action-Adventure and Young Adult Fiction categories of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards
Finalist in the Multicultural Fiction and Best Overall Design Fiction categories of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Honorable Mention in the Sci-Fi category of the 2009 New York Book Festival
Honorable Mention in the Sci-Fi and Teenage categories of the 2009 Beach Book Festival
Honorable Mention in the Wild Card category of the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival
Someone likes this book. Therefore, due to the reasons delineated above, I will not be rating this book. I do not think it is fair, plus I don't know how to. It wouldn't be right. So I have compiled some other reviews for you to read and make your own decision regarding this book:
A Bibliophile's Bookshelf
All Booked Up
Just trying to be honest folks :)
Thanks to the author for sending me this book. Sorry it didn't quite work out, but I think this post speaks for itself.