Light. Darkness. Adversity. Realism. Imagination. Prepare for all of that and more in the whirlwind adventure in Moose Jaw author Melanie McFarlane’s debut middle grade fantasy novel, The Descendants and the Missing Guardian.
The book is a fun read from start to finish. Capturing a vivid imagination, the journey is complete with adventures involving Skye dragons, night dragons, elemental shape shifters, destiny, giant eagles and the power of finding yourself in difficult times. Each page keeps you turning to the next and the next until you reach the conclusion and can only wait in anticipation to learn what’s next in the upcoming sequel.
The story follows 12-year-old Seth Reid who has felt nothing but loneliness and anger since his father died one year ago. He constantly finds himself in the middle of trouble – school fights, family feuds – and pent-up frustration thrives in his core. His older twin siblings, Jared and Marin, as well as his mother seem to be moving along just fine, but he is stuck in the past.
His world as he knows it gets turned upside-down when he meets Belvedere, Head Guardian of the Crystals of Life, on a stormy day. Transported into unfamiliar realms, Seth learns of Darkness from the Void that has found its way into the universe through the dark spaces between the Four Worlds of Life.
No one knows much about it, and certainly not where it came from, but it infects the light of the crystals, crystals that hold our universe together. Board Members of the Four Worlds call upon Seth, the chosen one, to save the crystals and their world, but the question remains if Seth truly is the chosen one and if he is up to the task.
It’s wonderful to follow Seth’s journey as even his own limits are tested, with his siblings and with himself. He easily loses his temper and mistakes follow in his every footstep. It’s easy to see how he has felt haunted by the memory of losing his father in a tragic farming accident. But the more Seth becomes immersed in the worlds of the Crossroads, Boreas and the dark mysterious place of The Void, the more he has to learn – and the more he has to lose.
Seth’s struggles are something we can all relate to in one way or another, just like the themes that are prominent during the book. Seth doesn’t get along with his siblings, an all-too-common experience for many of us, and he certainly doesn’t believe in himself.
Yet he faces numerous challenges, learns about shocking new discoveries and has to make the tough choices. The only thing is time, and a good temper, is not on his side. Add to that a great ensemble of characters from the quirky but loveable Mrs. Ogle to the colourful and fun characters of the ME and there you have the recipe for an enjoyable read.
The flow of the novel is fast and easy to follow. With nearly every chapter ending on a cliffhanger, the story moves along at a solid pace from one adventure to the next and there is never a dull moment.
All in all, The Descendants and the Missing Guardian is an entertaining and creative ride that sucks you in for the journey along with Seth. Brace yourself and hold on for the ride.