Travis Daniel Bow. Mask and Mallet, $9.99 paper (322p) ISBN 978-0-9914657-0-5
Bow makes an ambitious debut with this initial offering in the Everknot Cycle, a fantasy adventure that follows two kidnapped teens as they learn to strike back at the forces occupying their country. Fifteen-year-old Timothy and his adopted brother, Robert, are stolen, meant as unwilling recruits for the Huctan army. Instead, they are rescued by Selena, a young member of the secretive Band, a rebel force planning to drive the Huctans out of Botan. As Timothy eagerly joins the Band, he undergoes intensive training as a Thane—one of their elite operatives—while Robert chooses a more sedate path as an apprentice blacksmith and burgeoning strategist. All too soon, the day comes when the Band is shattered from within, and the remnants are forced to fight for their very survival. Bow’s narrative is engaging and imaginative, with plenty of attention and detail given to Timothy’s daily training as a spy and warrior. However, this comes at the cost of worldbuilding, leaving intriguing characters to occupy a generic fantasy landscape. Predictable elements and an inevitable cliffhanger further undermine the promising story line. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014
Release date: 01/01/2014
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