The Horn of Moran (Adventurers Wanted Book #2) by M.L. Forman
"The land of Alusia is on the brink of war as two men have each claimed the throne. Only the true king can sound the Horn of Moran and prove his nobility. But the Horn has been lost for years. If it is not found--and soon--it could mean the destruction of an entire nation. It wasn't that long ago that young Alexander Taylor embarked on his first adventure, where he discovered he was a wizard and destroyed the fearsome dragon, Slathbog. Now he joins a band of seasoned adventurers who have been called up to retrieve the legendary Horn of Moran. Their journey to the mysterious Tower of the Moon will take them through an enchanted forest, into battle against a goblin army, past the watchful eyes of griffin guards, and face-to-face with a sphinx and her deadly riddles. With his sword, Moon Slayer, and the wise counsel of his wizard mentor, Whalen Vankin, Alex must use all his wizard and warrior skills to fight a darkness that may consume them all."
This is such a fun series! This is middle-grader adventurer, fantasy heaven. You have the wizard-in-training, young Alex Taylor, who is such a great character. I love this kid. He's so humble (most of the time), teachable, courageous, giving, caring, thoughtful, and intelligent. He trusts in himself enough to conquer some very difficult challenges, yet he doesn't become over confident or arrogant. He constantly asks questions to learn and understand new things. He's a good friend. He's honest and has integrity. Sindar may be a new character in this book, but I really like him as well. He's a good balance for Alex. He has the experience to help Alex on this journey. Of course Bregnest, Andy, and Halfdan are great adventurers, and I like that we got to know each of them more in this book. There were some of the same characters in this book as in the first, but we were able to meet a few new characters as well. What I really liked in this book was watching Alex grow into his role as wizard, and gain confidence and trust in his abilities. My boys didn't think this book was as exciting as the first book was, and I can see their point. The quest is different. It's not as flashy or exciting, but it is so important, and holds a deeper meaning to those that it will impact. Alex is able to grow more because of the nature of the quest. It requires more of his intelligence, and he must dig deeper into his abilities in order to achieve success. It is definitely more taxing on him in a different way. Another thing I love about this book is the emphasis that is put on the honor of the characters. There is constantly talk about their honor. If they do this then it increases their honor, but if they do that then it decreases their honor. What a great concept to have in a middle-grader series. I don't think enough importance is put on honor today. I know that years ago your name and your honor meant everything. Unfortunately, I think we don't do that as much today. We should, though. So I love that this book teaches that concept to middle-graders and early young adults. I thought it was a great second book in the series, and I definitely recommend it.
There is no profanity (hooray!) and no "intimacy" (thank you!). There is some minor violence when they battle different creatures along the way. Alex makes it a point to not kill innocent people or creatures, so a lot of what could happen doesn't. A character does die, and so do a bunch evil creatures.
Rating: PG+ (No profanity or "intimacy." There is some minor violence when they battle different creatures. A character does die, but it isn't graphic in the description.)
Recommendation: 4th-5th grade and up. It's a great middle-grade to early young adult read!