Some kids really enjoy fantasy, and I guess they always will. They can entertain the complex relationships and organize the worlds in which the characters interact with ease. And then there are the rest of us, who often feel alienated by the genre. We often carry our own preconceived notions of dragons and sword-wielding-do-gooders to the page with us. And if you have read one of these series then you have read them all, right? Wrong.
Chantel’s Quest for the Golden Sword should satisfy any reader. It does not take long to get into the plot. The casual reader should be involved by the time they turn the first page. The action is necessary, but not overly descriptive, and the story stands on its own as a well-conceived literary piece.
Oliver Neubert has provided the beginning of a series that should attract boys and girls that may not necessarily gravitate to this type of literature. Once landing in Neubert’s four worlds the readers might develop a quick affinity for Chantel and her compatriots.
Any story involving a quest usually is filled with much deeper meaning related to self-discovery. This book is no exception to the rule. Neubert uses light and dark skillfully to examine the human spirit and his characters have some profound statements about the choices we make on a daily basis. According to Chantel,“I don’t have to run any longer. I will not accept this future. I know who I am.” It is this type of resolve when coupled with failure makes characters both believable and identifiable. These are characters that can lead us into an examination of our own world and how we can better engage it.
Older elementary and middle school students will find the book most appealing, but do not be surprised to see a high school student or adult picking up this new series. Be willing to discuss the book with the students on a moral level and be ready for them to make comparisons with the other literature they read. Or better yet, let your students see you reading this book.
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Andrews High School
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Andrews, NC 28901