Author J. L Hickey / Reviewed by Felita Daniels / 220 Pages
I think this series has lots of potential. There were wonderful characters with a balance of emotions and character traits. I applaud that the adventure was mixed with intelligent discovery, mythology and science. There is certainly a great framework for future adventures. There is conflict with human adversaries, with the beasts and with the children dealing with the death of their parents. The arrival at a mysterious house with an unknown, busy godparent/care taker reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia.
One of the situations I am hesitant about is young people’s thought process about safety. The grown-ups in this story basically say we need you to do XYZ for safety. One of the main characters disregards this and endangers his sister. Okay, I get this happening once and he has learned his lesson. He later in the book does the same thing, only taking MORE youngsters with him. I understand that there has to be some jeopardy involved to create the conflict. I’m just not sure what I think about the repeated disregard for safety and disobeying adult instructions even after seeing negative consequences already.
I liked how their new home was described and that there is much to explore there. One of my favorite characters was someone they met in the dead of night, when they were supposed to be sleeping in their rooms. This book is promoted as YA novel (12 to 18). Hunter, one of the main characters, is thirteen and his younger sister Elly is eleven. I feel this might be on the lower end of YA and acceptable to read to your younger audience as long as there’s a discussion about the safety aspects.
I suspect the children will be older in the second installment of the series, Secret Seekers Society and the Solomon’s Seal. Overall, I found Beast of Bladenboro a great introduction to an adventure series.