Thursday, January 1

Tommy Black and the Staff of Light

Tommy Black and the Staff of Light
Jake Kerr
(Tommy Black #1)

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-0692316665
Publisher: Currents & Tangents Press
Date of publication: November 4, 2014
Age: Grades 5 - 8
Genre: Fantasy

Themes: dark vs. light, pre-WWII, family relations, sexism, magic vs. technology

Tommy has just found out that his seemingly boring grandfather is actually the Archmage, owner of a most revered magical staff. But the Shadows have come for him, and before Tommy can comprehend what's happening, he is the new owner of the staff and thus, the new Archmage. He must escape the Shadows, discover his powers of light with the staff, and find his grandfather. In his adventures, he meets Naomi--a girl who's magical prowess matches her ability to hurl insults in a sexist society. Will the two be able to face the dark and powerful creatures that kidnapped his grandfather?

In the end, a great fantasy adventure with a fascinating take on magic--is it really needed? Taking place right before WWII, Kerr tells an alternate history: magic won the Great War, but technology is rapidly replacing the need for wizardry. Love the concept, but the execution left much to be desired. I really struggled reading the first two-thirds of the book. The story dragged with a lot of expository writing (I soon learned to skim those parts) and even the action parts were made dull with most of the first-person-written sentences starting with "I." The characters were a tad flat, but I appreciated the coming-into-his-own that Tommy went through. I like Naomi a lot. It picked up a bit more towards the end, and I really enjoyed the ending. I hope Kerr can carry that momentum into the next book.

Find it on Amazon

(I received a digital copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review)

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