Thursday, October 23, 2014

Enter Into An Enchanting New World

There are literally too many book in the world and it isn't possible for me to keep up with every new release, let alone read every book that has ever been written, well, unless a nuclear apocalypse occurs giving me all the time in the world to read any book I want to, like in the classic Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last." In reality I don't have a whole lot of time to read anymore. Yes, I can speed read through a novel in an hour if I wanted to, but I have a hard time reviewing a book I just skimmed. I prefer to read every word on every page of a novel. Being a blog reviewer, I have any books piled up to review and the first ones to get reviewed are the ones for blog tours. That being said, I sometimes have to shove a few books aside until I have time to properly read them. This includes the fantasy novel The Sword of Darrow and its sequel The Dragon and the Firefly.

The Sword of Darrow (ISBN-13: 978-1935618478) is set in a magical realm of Sonnencrest, a peaceful kingdom that is until the evil goblin King Malmut and his army of creatures seizes the kingdom. The only survivor of the royal family is Princess Babette, who barely escapes the goblin's grasps. A powerful wizard, Asterux, takes in the young princess and agrees to teach her magic. Ten years passes by and Babette is now ready to take back her kingdom, but she cannot do it alone, so along the way she encourages a young boy, Darrow, to become a hero by giving him a sword that is light as a feather.

The Dragon and the Firefly (ISBN-13: 978-0984980987) takes place twenty-eight years later and focuses on the Queen Babette's twins, Prince Fenn and Princess Aster. A new enemy of the kingdom takes form and kidnaps Fenn. It is up to Aster and her dragon, Moakie, to rescue him. The twins must put aside their fears in order to defeat the upcoming evil.

The Sword of Darrow is written by the father and son duo Hal and Alex Malchow. At a young age, Alex struggled with dyslexia. His father read to him and then the two of them would create "me-you" stories, which eventually lead to the idea for The Sword of Darrow. When Hal started writing the book Alex was only eight-years-old. Fast Forward six years and several revisions and BenBella Books agreed to publish the book.

I would like to point out that the characters on both book jackets reminds of J. R. R. Tolkien's world, which isn't a bad thing as the dazzling covers are a sure way to grab a reader's attention. The current book market for younger readers is filled with werewolves and vampire plots, so I felt these two books were a breath of fresh air. From the characters to the descriptions and to the actual plots, the authors have a crafted an incredible new world full of excitement and adventure. Overall, I enjoyed reading The Sword of Darrow and The Dragon and the Firefly and I highly recommend it to readers of all ages from every realm.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Authors:

Alex is 16 and a student at the prestigious St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C. where he is an honor roll student and a starter on the school’s nationally recognized football team.

At the time he and his father started the book, Alex was eight and struggled with dyslexia. So when he began work on the book, he still could not read. He later enrolled in the Lab School in Washington D.C., which teaches children with learning differences. After 12 months of intensive work there, he was reading at his grade level.

Hal's writing career began when his then eight-year-old son approached him about writing a book together. Two years later, they completed the first draft of "The Sword of Darrow," a highly acclaimed young adult fantasy novel. In 2014, writing alone, he published a sequel, "The Dragon and the Firefly."

For 25 years, Hal worked as a political consultant, pioneering the use of science to evaluate and improve campaign tactics. His work is chronicled in the 2011 book by Sasha Issenberg, "The Victory Lab, The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns." Hal's own book, "Political Targeting," is the definitive work in modern voter contact targeting. In 2010, Hal left political consulting to write and do other things. He is a marketing consultant to Ethical Electric, a rapidly growing renewable energy firm. He co-chairs the Capital Campaign at the Lab School of Washington. In 2014, he became President of the International Dyslexia Association.

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