Every time I read a book, I imagine the world, the creatures and the characters that have been laid out before my eyes. However, the world of words will only get you so far. Sometimes, it’s a nice benefit to have a visual representation of what you are reading. After all, why else would people read books with pictures?
I loved this collection of tales. Not only were they fun and interesting to read on their own, but they built beautifully on the Deltora series (1, 2 and 3). The way in which the tales are broken up into short ‘folklore’ stories means that this book is really easy to read. After all, each short story has its own theme, message and journey. But, read in one big hit, as a whole, and with the rest of the Deltora series in mind, the overarching message and story comes to light.
This is a fantastic conclusion to the first of the Deltora Quests. The gems have all been restored, but the trio still have to find out where the heir to the crown has been hiding. The path to finding the unknown child is filled with tricks and treachery from the Shadow Lord. Every step feels as thought Lief, Barda and Jasmine have taken one further step into the web of deception that has been spun.
This might be the last gem for the belt of Deltora, but it is definitely not the last step on the journey. The gems may all get restored to the belt, but they still need the heir, and Lief is so very aware of this as they travel towards the Valley of the Lost. But, like the rest of the gems, it is not just a simple means of finding where the gem is hidden – they have to battle the guardian to win it. Just, in this case, the battle is one of wits that the trio can’t afford to lose.
The next step on Lief, Barda and Jasmine’s journey is filled with even more danger, yet again. Not only does it feel like the stakes have been raised, but the enemy’s awareness of their actions have also increased. Not only do the trio constantly face the dangers of recognition, but they similarly need to face the dangers of the maze of the beast. Not only do they not know where the maze is, but they also have no idea how to get there and avoid the dangers of the Ols and constant interaction with more people.
This was a great next step on Lief’s journey around Deltora. As the group continues onwards and their success increases, so does the danger that they find themselves in. This time, they find themselves meeting mysterious legends, finding the true story of Doom’s past and solving the mystery of the Grey Guards’ blister balls.
Step four in the Deltora Quest series is a little less thrilling than the first three (for me), but it is still a great journey. Lief, Barda and Jasmine again run into the mysterious rebellion leader, Doom, they are forced to battle in a gladiator-style contest, and, as always, they finally triumph over a completely unknown foe. Yet, it just doesn’t quite have the fast pace of the first three books, and not as many riddles throughout the story. And, after all, the reason I’ve always loved this series is the little riddles that are peppered throughout.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the characters when you close the pages of a beloved book? I always imagine them living their happily ever afters, going on more adventures and just generally enjoying the life that they’ve been granted. But, what if it isn’t like that? The Magic Word is Fallon’s way of looking at what happens to the characters after you turn the last page of the book, after the author stops writing their story.
I’ll admit – I’m a total neat freak. Just to sit down and read this book, write this review, I had to vacuum the lounge (where I’m nesting for the day), and put away the dry washing. To be fair though, my living room floor was also covered in chewed up dog toys. But I digress… the point is that I am a neat freak, but this is also tempered by the knowledge that there is such a thing as too neat. Which, is exactly what happens in City of Rats.
The next step in Lief, Barda and Jasmine’s journey is just as good as the first. It’s a perfect sequel to follow up the beginning of their adventure, and begins to show the hand of fate on everything that they’re doing on their epic journey.