Friday, June 18, 2021

Review: Champion's Quest: The Die of Destiny by Frank L. Cole

Today's review is for young fantasy friends. This one enters a gaming world, but instead of offering characters who can fight and, at least one, who knows how to play, these kids really are just thrown in without a clue. Action and friendship? Battles and problems? 

Let's take a peek!

by Frank L. Cole
Shadow Mountain
Middle Grade Fantasy 
304 pages 
ages 8 to 12

AUGUST 3rd!!!

Lucas Silver’s life is about to change. He thinks it’s because he’s made plans to escape from his foster home and make his way to New York, but then he and his friend Miles and two girls they’re acquainted with—Jasmine and Vanessa—find Hob and Bogie’s Curiosity Shoppe and agree to play a game of Champion’s Quest.

When the four kids walk out the front door of the Curiosity Shoppe, they immediately discover they’re no longer in West Virginia, but transported into the game and a wild fantasy world of dangerous goblins, brutish ogres, and a powerful witch.

They must work together as a team, overcome their real-world weaknesses, and believe in themselves and each other if they are to outwit, outplay, and survive their foes in this ultimate quest to defeat a treacherous monster.



Adventure and fantasy reign making it hard not to want to jump right in with the characters and battle right along with them.

Lucas wants to run away from his latest foster home. Hoping to have a chance to ditch his friend, he enters a curiosity shop, but instead, he, his friend, and two girls related to the foster home (and ones he wants nothing to do with) step out of the shop to find themselves swept into another world. Here, they find themselves in the they aren't sure of the rules and don't really know how to play. But if they want out, they're going to have to play and win.

When I read the blurb on this one, I knew I had to get my hands on the ARC. It's fantasy pure with tons of imagination, action, and impossible odds. The author does a wonderful job at building the scenes and creates a rich world, and that without rambling into long descriptions. The pacing is well placed and keeps the action rolling, but characters aren't forgotten, either.

One of my favorite things about this read is that the characters aren't perfect. While the idea of a kid running away from a foster home does draw in an immediate amount of sympathy, this one doesn't rely on that alone. Each character has things they are dealing with, and each one needs the unexpected and odd friendship which forms between them. These kids are not awesome fighters, nor do they have any clue what to do when they are thrown into the 'game'. They make tons of mistakes, since they don't know the rules, and have to learn as they go along. And they do learn as well as discover different ways to handle things then what might usually be expected. 

Then, there's the friendship. That's probably one of the main themes in this one. They aren't exactly the kind of kids, which normally would ever get along. And yet, they have to and learn to stretch beyond their own borders. The character arcs are strong, and the development is hard to miss. There's humor, frustrating scenes, ones that pull at the heart, and plenty of great moments of action and victory. It's a wonderful mix and a fun read.

And here he is...

FRANK L. COLE lives with his wife and three children out West. He is the author of ten books. He is an active promoter of reading and the power of imagination and has been to more than 120 schools presenting to kids.

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