Monday, August 17, 2009

Defenders of the Scroll: In Some Places You Should be Afraid of Shadows

 

Shiraz
R. M. Productions Ltd (2009)
ISBN 9780981013503
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 11) for Reader Views KIds


"Defenders of the Scroll" by Shiraz is the action-packed adventure story of fifteen-year-old Alex, a guitarist, who is sucked into a strange and troubled world.  The realm of Mythos has problems.  A Shadow Lord has risen and is taking over.  Possibly worse, the king has been imprisoned, leaving the princess in danger of capture.
 
When nine-year-old Dara's father Mornak was abducted by the Shadow Lord, he managed to send all of his power to a magic scroll that Dara now possesses.  The Scroll has a massive amount of power that the Shadow Lord wants.  While Askar has distinct orders from the Shadow Lord to capture Dara and the Scroll, he would rather just destroy everything in his path including the Scroll.  If the Shadow Lord can get the Scroll, he can drain its magic and become invincible, and a mythical world apocalypse would ensue.
Soon after Alex appears in Mythos, he meets Dara, the princess of the realm. Seconds later, a giant, evil two-headed monster (an ettin) tries to viciously club them.  As he is being attacked, Alex recalls a character from his history book and wishes he were present.  Amazingly, a Roman legionary named Scorpius (the character that Alex had wished for) appears and slices the monster to bits.  Alex learns that he can summon other characters from his history book:  Tenzin, a very likable Shaolin monk; Bantu, a giant African warrior; Maya, an Amazon archer; and Genjuro, a fierce young samurai. All are youthful like Alex, and very skilled with their preferred weapons.  This will come in very handy seeing that this is only the first of numerable monster attacks.  Can they defeat the Shadow Lord and protect the Scroll? Will Mythos fall into the hands of the evil Shadow Lord?
       
The story is very riveting on its own, but the color illustrations that occasionally appear make it even better. The illustrations look like they are out of a graphic novel.  I think that they are computer generated, but they are still really cool and look like paintings.  The pictures were really exiting and gave me and even better feel for the characters.
     
This is Shiraz's first book, and has understandably won several awards.  If you have questions about the book you can go to his website and contact him.  This book ended with a cliffhanger and I can't wait for the next one.  I would recommend this book to people who like action, adventure, and fantasy.  I think that kids age nine to fourteen or so would especially like this book.  "Defenders of the Scroll" by Shiraz was an awesome book and I think that most every one that reads it will like it.