cover image The Rock of Ivanore

The Rock of Ivanore

Laurisa White Reyes. Tanglewood, $16.95 (356p) ISBN 978-1-933718-60-6

In her acknowledgments, White tells readers that her debut novel, first in the Celestine Chronicles series, began as a bedtime story for one of her sons, and its speech rhythms and bite-size chapters certainly hearken to the oral storytelling tradition. Marcus, orphan apprentice of the wizard Zyll, has been granted permission beyond his station to take part in the Great Quest that all legitimate sons of his village undergo in the year of their 14th birthdays. The goal of this year’s quest is to find the Rock of Ivanore, though what that “rock” might be, no one knows. Six boys set out, each a familiar fairy tale type, working sometimes together and sometimes apart as they search the Isle of Imaness. Many strange beings cross their path, notably the catlike half-breed Jayson, and they stumble into a political struggle that has been unfolding far beyond their rural ken. This is an old-school quest fantasy, but Marcus is a hero who engages challenges in a way that is both human and admirable, and readers will love the bizarre and sometimes deadly creatures that he must overcome. Ages 8–up. (May)