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The Fortress (The Kodo Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Fantasy is not one of my favourite genres, but I read it too. Three keys have been stolen from the king and hidden by the Sinisters and young Cameron has been picked to retrieve them where experienced soldiers have previously failed. Two of his school friends, Sam and Anna accompany him on the dangerous mission. Later another child, Jenny who is untrained also joins them.
As the reader, I initially assumed that the book would encompass finding all the keys, but no, it ends shortly after finding the first key, leaving you all fired up to read the next book in the series,
The book is illustrated by Sunil Kalbandi. I always feel it is great for a child’s book to be illustrated but in this instance, I didn’t really care for the style of illustrations.
Disclosure. This is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
It’s a very easy read, perfect for children, with enough peril to spark excitement. The twist on a children’s quest story is that of having an eastern-style foundation for the magic, training, outfits and action scenes. For example, meditation helps the children control their abilities and combat adversaries. So I suppose it’s a bit like Harry Potter meets 3 Ninjas. I did, however, feel that some parts were a little too simple or not quite as inspired as they could have been, compared to, say, the Harry Potter books. But I suppose it depends on the reading level of the child.
Anyway, in summary it’s well worth a read for young children who love adventure and action-packed quests. The illustrations are also a nice touch. The version I reviewed has also recently been edited to correct earlier issues.
There were, unfortunately, some things that hurt my ability to enjoy the story more, despite the great premise. There were a number of syntax errors, grammar errors, missing punctuation in places etc. that would often throw me out of the story. There was also more telling than showing. And there was more than one issue with pacing. Sometimes it was too slow, and sometimes too fast.
There is an instance where a minor character, Mary seems to be calm, and then the next time she speaks, at the very end of her dialogue, the dialogue tag indicates that she "sobbed" out the whole sentence. There had not been any indication in the narrative to show her emotion until that point. If her emotions are going from calm and passive to sobbing, the reader needs to be able to see that, rather than being told so in a dialogue tag at the end of her sobbing.
Additionally, it wasn't until page 70 that I learned there were only 3 main sinisters. The way the story explained them at the beginning, I was of the understanding that there was an army of them. It was also a bit confusing that the purpose of the Kodo school was to create soldiers to fight the Sinisters who were ex-Kodo soldiers. If the Sinisters were ex-Kodo soldiers, they wouldn't have existed when the school was first established, so that confused me a little. Though I suppose there might have been other dangers in the past that the school had been established to protect against. Another thing that threw me off just a little was when the narrative called the architecture of the school "Japanese-style". Now as a person living on Earth, I, personally know what the author means by "Japanese-style" but the story takes place in a world called Nargassus. The word Japanese, therefore, wouldn't exist in that world, and since the characters wouldn't know what the word meant, it is a good idea not to include the word any more than it would to compare a small window to an ipod screen in the narrative of a story that takes place in 1500 A.D.
Overall, though, the story was very imaginative and the plot twists were very well thought out. I would suggest passing the story by a professional editor for both content and line editing; the bones of a great story are here, and a professional editor would do a lot to help thicken and add substance to a really great tale!
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