Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Middle Grade/ Fantasy/ Epic
Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words
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“Scott Collins was born and raised in Southern California but relocated to the Denver area following the birth of the first of his two sons. Days' End was his debut novel and Scepter is the first in a middle grade fantasy series. In addition to writing, he enjoys spending his free time (with two kids that's not much time) running and cycling.”
“Daniel now holds the stoneless Scepter as his bitter reward for saving the fairy settlement. What would happen if the stones were gathered and the Scepter reassembled? Daniel, Aidan, Olivia, and Lilly set out to locate and take back the Emerald of Phaunos, one of the four gems that gave the Scepter its power.
King Argyle’s army of diegylis, a half man/half werewolf beast, will stop at nothing to catch the four rebels. The tree people in the Acheron forest now possess the emerald. It will take all the strength and determination the young band can rally to recover the stolen emerald. But can they do it before the diegylis destroy them?”
As we rejoin Daniel, Aidan, Olivia, and Lilly on their quest to restore the Scepter of Harmony to its former glory, Mr. Collins does an excellent job reminding us where we left off from the previous book. My reading time is precious and I am always concerned that I may need to go back and reread the first book of a series, to remind myself where a book left off and the elements of the story. Needless to say my worry here was unfounded. This in itself is one sign of a good storyteller in my book.
My only complaint would be that the story bogs down a bit when the kids are traveling between different parts of the kingdom. Condensing the travel time would improve the pace of the story. Other than that I loved the relationships of the characters and this is what makes this story work for me. A new member is added to the group and each character proves their own strengths and play well off each other. There is strife within this group that adds realism to the relationships and depth to their characters. The obstacles this small band were faced with and their willingness to cooperate with each other help them to overcome almost insurmountable odds.
The creatures that Mr. Collins has created in this epic fantasy are creative and unique. They were imaginative and horrific, but age appropriate enough to be thrilling for middle grade students. Our villain, King Argyle, continues to prove himself to be an evil dictator that needs vanquishing. Will our small band be able to continue to evade the formidable army of diegylis hunting them and have the fortitude to complete their quest to restore the scepter? Recovering the stones seems to be the only answer to bring peace and prosperity back to the kingdom of Castiglias and the world beyond. So far this journey has been a roller coaster ride of devastating setbacks with small triumphs that bond this band together as they gather allies and defeat foes standing in their way. I can't wait to see how the kids manage to bring the different factions of this world together to accomplish their quest.
Although the second book in the series the author does a good job of refreshing memories for those who have forgotten what happened in the first book. This also makes it possible to read this book as a standalone.
I noticed no issues with editing or formatting.
Rating: **** Four stars