** This Book Review is part of Pump Up Your Book Promotion's Virtual Blog Tour for Kamilla Reid **
The Questory of Root Karbunkulus: Item One - The Miist
Author: Kamilla Reid
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
In the village of Charm, Root Karbunkulus is an ordinary teenage girl living in a horrid halfhouse, used as an unpaid slave by her two grotesque aunts. Until one day she wakes up to the sound of a phone ringing - a ringing, that peculiarly, only she's able to hear. When she finally tracks down the phone to a secret room hidden under a trapdoor, she gets a riddle to solve by Argo Bumplekins. Solving the riddle on full moon night leads Root into the DréAmm, a mysterious world "three feet above you".
Once there, Root comes to know that she along with more than a 100 other kids, were all born in DréAmm but sent to live among Humans for their own protection. Divided into teams of three, these special kids are then informed they must all go on a scavenger hunt for six rare but legendary objects. The first item is Kalliope’s Miist, a highly secretive substance with a power to cure any and all.
Root finds herself paired with studious Lian and over-adventurous Dwyn. While Lian’s father holds high offices in the DréAmm ministry, Dwyn is an orphan just like Root. Together these unlikely teammates must solve clues, resist temptation, fight dangerous creatures, outwit other unscrupulous teams and face peril wherever the Quest takes them. Along the way they will discover their inner magic, their budding friendship will be strained to the limit, unlikely alliances will emerge and they will learn more about themselves than they ever knew.
While not exactly in Harry Potter’s league, this fantasy adventure story is enjoyable and engrossing - once you get past the truly horrible aunts and the strange and difficult-to-pronounce names, that is. Simply put, it’s a treasure hunt and the winners of this first quest get to go look for the other, presumably more difficult to find, objects, whatever they may be.
Like HP, here again you have a trio of young people attempting to work, bond and adventure together to greatness. The shifting dynamics between them will keep readers on their toes, even as their burgeoning magic will be the cause of much angst among the three adolescent protagonists. Root comes across as the only sensible one even as her two male teammates come off as ego-centric and polar opposites. The story has a ton of other characters as well and there are myriad intertwining stories to keep the readers at once engrossed and slightly bewildered.
Young readers, at whom this book is aimed, will surely enjoy the thrill of chase that’s only enhanced by the presence of magic and magical beings, other fantasy elements and danger which just pops out of nowhere. As the protagonists learn through each adventure, so do (hopefully) the young readers as well.
However, as an adult reading this story, I was stuck with two glaring questions. Why send these young kids out in search of Treasures that even older, powerful magicians believe to be lost forever? And why is that the children don’t ask more questions - why were they sent away from DréAmm in the first place, or why are they called back and only just to go on a dangerous Quest? What is the purpose? Where are their parents, etc? Perhaps, these questions will be asked and answered in subsequent books, but I feel it would have been better to have built upon core background issues like this before embarking on the scavenger hunt, which appears to be the primary focus of the story.
If ever you’ve wanted to leave this ordinary world behind and go somewhere where Magic is common as dust, then head on over to DréAmm within the pages of this book. The target audience will surely enjoy this book and find the scavenger hunt action-packed and very thrilling. An adult reader will too, as long as they’re willing to overlook certain things.
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