GENRE: Young Adult Science Fiction
PUBLISHED THROUGH: Millhouse Press
Every child dreams of what the world would be like if all parents suddenly disappeared. The basis of Quests of Shadowind: Sky Shifter explores that idea. Fifteen-year-old Logan and his thirteen-year-old sister, Mindy, wake up one morning to find their parents gone. The teens have been transported to someone else's house and into someone else's pjs. Seeking a logical answer to this very strange situation, the two venture out, only to see other children in the same predicament. Things get stranger still when a local young adult, Preston, is captured by a giant metal spider. Continuing through this cyber rabbit hole, the pair soon learn that Logan can enter his computer and play the games there.
The villain soon arrives in the form of local bully, Kyle Whitelaw. The neighborhood kids pair off in groups of good versus evil. While Mindy and Logan try to solve their bully problem, they also realize they have to square off against more giant metal insects and worse, the Lord Torrent of the Deep Shadows, a dark ruler of the land inside Logan's computer. Will they get out alive? Will they ever get home?
Fun and fast-paced, this story has many imaginative scenes and events that make it an exciting romp for speculative fiction lovers. Mindy and Logan are sweet and caring protagonists. And L.A. Miller produced a quality book in terms of editing, format and cover. The adventure of entering computers and fighting virtual villains is not new, but Miller approaches it in a unique way.
Where the story fell short was the character development. The teens in this book seem sticky sweet and cardboard flat. The main bully says at one point, “Go sell that rubbish to the trash yard...” Maybe we're a little more crude where I come from, but when the roughest kid in town is trash talking, this is not exactly how he sounds. The bully was stereotypical, as was the annoying, yet lovable kid sister and the gallant and nearly perfect main hero. With stronger characters, however, the book could really soar.
Suited best for tweens and young teens, I think younger audiences would like the book. In my humble opinion, Miller would do better to lower the ages of his protagonists and sell this as a middle grade novel. It reads more like that age group and they would get a huge kick out of the action adventure it delivers.
3 out of 5 stars
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Katie French, co-founder and contributor at Underground Book Reviews, hails from Michigan, the land of wool socks. Mother, wife and school counselor, she writes whenever she is blessed with a spare moment. Her young adult sci fi books The Breeders and Eyes Ever to the Sky are available now on Amazon. You can find her at KatieFrenchBooks.com.