Reviewed by: Michael Thal
Genre: Coming of Age/Fantasy/Magic
Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words
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Jake Kerr was a music industry journalist before becoming a science fiction/fantasy author. His first published story, The Old Equations, was nominated for a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Currently, Kerr lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and three daughters.
Tommy Black lost his parents in a car accident when he was a toddler. Now fourteen year old, Tommy lives with his doting grandfather who keeps a constant eye on his grandson.
Life isn’t very exciting for Tommy until that fateful evening walk from New York City’s Ziegfeld Theater to the Persian Garden Restaurant when suddenly Tommy’s life changes forever. After watching Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Tommy and Grandfather are attacked by dark magical creatures known appropriately as Shadows.
Once safe inside the Persian Garden, the battle between Grandfather and the Shadows and other magical monsters, Marids, begin in earnest. Tommy soon learns from his granddad’s friend, Mister Ali, that Grandfather was really the Archmage and his cane that he always carries with him is really a powerful magical artifact. When the Marids fly in with their huge talons and threatening teeth, all seems lost. Grandfather is willing to accept his fate and passes the cane to Tommy, effectively making the teen the next Archmage.
Tommy Black and the Staff of Light is a coming of age story that relates Tommy’s adventures, his relationship with the magical staff, and his efforts to save his grandfather in the first person narrative.
Jack Kerr tells Tommy’s tale through an imaginative magical world with exciting characters, interesting settings, and a fascinating plot that will keep young readers turning pages to the dramatic conclusion.
Rating: ***** Five Stars