Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1)
"The sign is small, tucked into the corner of Mr. Clutter's bookshop window: "Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within." No one but fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor even seems to notice it is there. And for Alex, who has wished for a changed in his life, it is an irresistible invitation. Upon entering Mr. Clutter's shop, Alex is swept away on an incredible adventure to a faraway land filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves. Alex becomes the eighth man in a band of adventurers seeking the lair of Slathbog the Red--an evil dragon with a legendary treasure. Along the way, Alex and his new friends must battle dangerous trolls and bandits, face undead wraiths, and seek the wisdom of the Oracle in her White Tower. Alex's adventure takes him to distant and exotic lands where he learns about courage, integrity, honor, and, most importantly, friendship."
My 11-year-old son told me I had to read and review this book. He loved it! Then my 13 year-old son read it and loved it, and so I finally got around to reading it. It reminded me a little of The Book Of Mysteries by Fran Orenstein. There are a few similarities, but in the end they are very different stories. I felt the innuendos and talk of "intimacy" in that book was too much for the age group, and there isn't any of that in this book.....thank goodness! Alex sees a sign in a window advertising the need for adventurers, and thus begins his great adventure. This book is a great middle grade book. I liked it. I enjoyed getting caught up in Alex's world, and in his adventures. It was mostly well written. It was a little predictable, but there were also a few good surprises. The character development is really good. There are some very interesting characters in this book, and it was fun getting to know them. I liked Alex, Arconn, Bregnest, Andy, Halfdan, Thrang, Skeld, Tayo, and Iownan. Their names are all unique and different, which I liked. The descriptions of the places they visit are very well done. I felt as if I were right there with them. I also liked to see the growth of Alex, and I enjoyed watching his relationship with his horse Shahree blossom. The bond they had was quite touching to read about. Some of the conversations seemed one dimensional and trite to me, but it didn't seem to bother my boys at all. I also thought it had too many perfect endings. There were some trials and some hardships, but they all ended up perfectly in the end. One part of me really likes that because of course you want everything to turn out perfectly, but the other part of me thinks it is too unrealistic.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was fun to get caught up in the story and in the lives of these adventurers. There are at least two more books, I think, and I'm excited to read them. I'll let you know when I get there. There is some violence, but it is mainly against fantasy characters like trolls, dragons, and wraiths. Speaking of the wraiths, they scared me. They reminded me a lot of the Ring Wraiths in Lord of the Rings. They gave me the creeps, and I was glad when the story moved past that point. That part is scary, and may not be suitable for younger readers. There is at least one point where they fight other humans. There is no profanity that I can remember, and there is no "intimacy."
Rating: PG+ (Violence in the fighting of other humans and fantasy characters, it is also scary in some parts.)
Recommendation: 4th grade (9-10 years-old) and up.