13 year old Marcus is not having a great day. First bullies try to beat him up and then he finds out that an evil otherworldly power wants him dead. Before the evil’s emissary can strike him dead, Marcus is pulled from Earth to another world, a magical world called Far World, by Kyja, a girl his age. He discovers that Far World is in danger, and it’s up to him and Kyja to save it which they can only do by getting the four elementals to work together. And so they set off on a quest fraught with danger and with the evil power and its minions nipping at their heels.
This is the first book in a series, so it details only the beginning of the quest: to find Water Keep, where the water elementals live. Marcus and Kyja face a variety of obstacles, some which feel slightly derivative (the Unmakers remind me of The Neverending Story’s The Nothing, the talking forest trees are similar to the Ents in Lord of the Rings), but the pacing is great and the story speeds along nicely.
Both Marcus and Kyja are appealing main characters though Kyja is just a tad too noble to be completely believable. Marcus’s character is the best thing about the book, and what elevates it from your run of the mill quest story to something more special. Marcus is disabled and confined to a wheelchair or forced to crawl. He has his moments of self-pity and self-doubt, but he’s able to overcome these to find the hero within. Disabled kids have a strong role model in Marcus and the rest of us gain a deeper understanding of the disabled experience.
Far World: Water Keep will be in stores on September 12th.
If you would like a signed copy of Far World, just let me know by this Saturday September 6th in the comments. The most impassioned plea gets the book.