Friday, December 13, 2019

Review: Secrets of the Black Forest by Daniel Lee Nicholson

Prince Dustin and Clara, Book Two
by Daniel Lee Nicholson
Fossil Mountain Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy
247 pages

Time is running out! Prince Dustin and Clara only have three days to save the kingdoms deep in the Black Forest. They must journey even deeper into the woods, a mystical and perilous realm of magic, enchantment and monstrous creatures. Clara soon discovers why those that travel to this faraway land seldom return to tell their tales. They never suspect that Clara’s uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer, a powerful wizard, has a dark secret that becomes their biggest challenge.

The thrilling adventure continues for 12-year old Clara and Prince Dustin, as Clara returns to the Land of Legends, a magical place of creatures and animals; a brave prince, fairy tale princesses, and a Snow Queen.

Prince Dustin and Clara ... a classic tale of fantasy and adventure!

Dr. Joenile S. Albert-Reese
Principal at a Performing, Fine Arts & Regional Gifted Elementary School

“I found this novel to be full of adventure, unexpected twists, magic, loyalty, and deception. Nicholson has held to his masterful ability to keep the readers on the edge of their seats as he awakens that mischievous curiosity that sleeps within each of us, no matter our age.”


Beautiful scenery sets the stage for an adventure full of tension, deception, magic and a sprinkle of fairy tale hope.

Note: This is the 2nd book in the series but can be read as a stand alone. I would, however, recommend reading the first book as it does add to the depth of the characters and situation.

Prince Dustin and Clara find themselves hurrying against the clock to save the fantastical kingdoms hidden within the Black Forest, but time isn't their own problem. They must journey into the darkest corners, there where even Clare has never heard tales about. The creatures they face are deadly, but the true evil behind everything poses the biggest threat.

This is a retelling of the Nutcracker and what a magical tale it is! The author sets the entire book in one of the most beautiful and mystical places in Europe, the Black Forest. Here, fairy tales come true and the most evil and sinister creatures lurk in the shadows. It's the perfect setting and very well described. The story itself is a lovely spin on the Nutcracker. It offers quite a bit of adventure and unexpected twists and turns the entire way through. While it does have it's sweet and magical moments, it carries just as many sinister ones. There's a bit of mystery thrown in and a wonderful sense of urgency.

Clara is quite the heroine and offers a more solid personality the one often portrayed in the ballet. She grows as the situation requires but doesn't only try to depend on herself. Her friendship with Prince Dustin and others help her along as she tries to discover the truth. Young readers will enjoy rooting for her and dreaming of their own magical adventure.

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