Magic: The Crest
By: Rena Marthaler
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
This book was written by Rena Marthaler in 2013 when she was nine years old. YES, NINE YEARS OLD! (Wow, I want to do that!) She wrote the book as part of the NaNoWriMo, which is an online competition to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Pretty amazing! You can find more information on Rena on her blog and her website.
This book is about Rachel and her fifth grade friends and how they use their magical powers. The adventure begins when Rachel and her friends are outside at recess and a dragon suddenly fly’s out of the sky. Rachel and her friends find themselves fighting their first enemy. Soon after, Rachel begins to get prophecies and the group starts off on different magical quest around the world. During their quests, they fight creatures, some that come from Greek mythology. On one quest they even leave Earth behind and go to a magical realm called “Central universe”. On the way, they also befriend two dragons and magical animals, including a fire cat and a puppy that can turn into a wolf pup.
The book is very fast paced – Rachel and her friends fight dragons by page 4! I also really like the different places in “Central universe” that Rena came up with and that all of the enemies come from Greek mythology. There are times where the girls stop to rest, and they are hungry and all they want to eat is pizza. I can really relate to that because I love pizza!
Rena is now working on the sequel to this book. As she develops it, I would suggest a couple of ideas that I think would make the story more interesting and exciting. First, I want to be just like Rachel and her friends. But I don’t know very much about them. It would be great to learn more about who they are and about their backgrounds. I also think that the girls discovered their magical powers too suddenly and too early in the story. I think it would have been more exiting if they had slowly learned about their power as the story went on. I know that you can’t undo that since the girls already know about their powers. But, maybe they could now learn something new about their power – for example, a new and more powerful way to use their powers.
Over all I like the book and I think girls aged 7-10 will enjoy this book.
The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid
By Rick Riordan
Carter and Sadie Kane are two kids who need to save the world from an evil Egyptian god. Sounds exciting? It is! This book is kind of an Egyptian mythology version of Percy Jackson; after all, they are both written by the same author!
The story starts when Carter and Sadie’s dad takes them to an Egyptian museum. At the museum he accidentally blows up the Rosetta Stone and releases five Egyptian gods from the duat (a kind of parallel universe). One of those gods happens to be Set, the god of evil who plans to destroy civilization. Sometime during the commotion, Set sucks their father into the floor, and that’s when Carter and Sadie’s lives get really interesting.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you – when the story begins Sadie is living in London with her grandparents, while Carter travels the world with their father. Why is this important? Imagine trying to save the world with someone who you don’t really know and only see for the holidays. But that’s just what Carter and Sadie have to do – get along and save the world. Even though I see my brother every day, I don’t think we could save the world together – he never listens to me!
Carter and Sadie don’t always get along either. But they do enough to realize that they have to do something, especially when their dad disappears. After they go back to their grandparent’s house and find their long lost uncle Amos at the door, Amos tells them that they are actually quite powerful magicians and only they can destroy Set. How is that for excitement?
Although the book is somewhat similar to the Percy Jackson books, it is not quite the same. Rick Riordan gives us a totally new plot with new characters. Also, in the Percy Jackson series, the main characters are children of the gods, while in this series, the characters are magicians who know how to summon the gods.
One of my favorite characters is Zia, a magician from the 1st nome (nomes are like schools for magic). I think she’s really smart. But she’s also unique and mysterious. And she isn’t easily frightened or freaked out.
This book is the first in the Kane Chronicles trilogy. Anyone aged 9-13 (including boys) who liked the Percy Jackson books should like this series.