Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review of “Crater Lake—Battle For Wizard Island” by Steve Westover

Title: Crater Lake (Battle for Wizard Island)
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. Publishing
Publication Date: March 2012
Paperback: 256 Pages
Genre: Teens & YA, Children’s, Literature & Fiction, Mystery

On the cover of the book, “Crater Lake—Battle For Wizard Island” it also has the words, “An ancient evil lurks in the depths.”

It sum up the book, I think the blurb on the back does a nice job. It says, “While visiting his crazy Uncle Bart at Crater Lake National Park, thirteen-year-old Ethan's world collapses when all the adults at Crater Lake disappear, including his parents. Now Ethan must rally his new friends and decipher the legends of Crater Lake to find the key to rescuing his parents from their earthen prison before he's captured too and their captivity becomes permanent.”

The book was written for younger readers, I’d say ages ten and up. The main characters in the book are in that age range, and I can imagine the readers of that same age group relating to what the characters are experiencing. How scary would it be to have your parents disappear when you’re thirteen and at an unfamiliar National Park? That, in and of itself, is a scary premise.

Included are mystical elements of smart cougars, bears, birds, bats as well as . . . ok, there are some even creepier things toward the end of the book, but I don’t want to ruin the surprises.

Reading about the author, and how he grew up in Oregon, I could tell how he used his experiences in camping and hiking to add a vivid picture of the setting. Aside from the ground eating people and the evil that is around, it sounds like a cool place to visit.

To fully appreciate this book, you need to read it from the point of view of the age group it was written for. When I was that age, the world was full of mystery, wonder and exciting possibilities. Adults may read this book and say, “Yeah, like that would ever happen.” Or “Why are the characters acting that way?” Remember: they’re kids.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It’s always a pleasure to read an imaginative, clean story. While there are some scary moments, it’s still a safe read for children.

As a fellow author, I know how difficult it is to write a book, let alone get it published. I feel my writing has improved because I was given some excellent suggestions from other writers. If I may be so bold, let me share the two things that distracted me in the book.

First, there was a lot of head hopping going on. While switching from points of view during a scene doesn’t break any federal laws, I found I would just start to connect to a character when all of a sudden I was in someone else’s head. It was a bit disconcerting.

Second, at the end of the book, the “heroes” of the book must complete their mission by a certain time, yet the sense of urgency was barely there—and not until the very last moments. At one point, with time running out, one of the characters won’t do what he’s asked to do until he’s been told what is going on. It was distracting enough that it pulled me out of the story.

Again, these are personal things I struggled with, and I don’t think they are enough to ruin the book for its targeted audience.

The book ends with the possibility of another book or two to be written. In fact, I dare say there needs to be at least another book to tie up several things that were introduced toward the end.

Who would like this book? As stated above, I’d say ages ten and up, leaning toward the male side of things, though there is quite a strong female character that girls can relate to.

I wish Steve Westover a huge amount of success with this book. He’s got a wonderful imagination and a talent for setting a great scene.

For more on the author, click here.

For ordering information, click here.

For a chance to win a print version of the book, click here.

**Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book to review, but it didn't influence my review.**

No comments:

Post a Comment