Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows:
The Elandrian Chronicles Book 1
by J.M. Bergen
I am so excited at the moment. I have so many great books to write about I did not know where to start this month, so I closed my eyes, pointed and came up with a great middle grade/tween book that I was asked to review – Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows.
Boys around the 10-12 age range are notoriously hard to write for, and many parents resort to reluctant reader books that encourage boys to read with a mixture of pictures and words. Sometimes, though, you find a gem that will capture imaginations without scrimping on story and character development. Zombie Boy was one pf these, and J.M. Bergen’s first book in the Elandrian Chronicles is another.
Thomas Wildus is an everyday boy who enjoys draw offs with his best friend in class and going to the beach, has a crush on a girl and a strong dislike of the school bully. The only difference is Thomas believes in magic because his dead father told him it was real. One day Thomas stumbles on a bookshop and the owner lends him a special book and Thomas’ life changes dramatically as he is drawn into a world of magic that places him in danger.
I love the way this book weaves magic in a modern day setting with a real villain, but also with real life problems children can identify with. Thomas is a likeable character who has the admirable quality of standing up for others and a great imagination. The action is fast paced and keeps you wanting to find out what happens next, and there are some surprising turns in the plot, including a strange encounter with snakes. If there is one small problem with the book, and it is only really small, there are a couple of sections where I was unsure as to how much time had passed between scenes, but this did not detract from the story over-all.
The lack of female characters means the book will more likely be enjoyed by male readers, and they may enjoy it even more because of the lack of female characters. However, I know a lot of female readers who would enjoy a story about modern day magic regardless of the fact the main protagonists are male.
The only downside to this book is that I received a preview copy and it is not available until February 2019. Shame, as it would have been a great recommendation for a southern hemisphere Christmas holiday read. It is available for pre-order on amazon.