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Summary: Lukas is afraid of fire. A fire-eating dragon destroyed the Kingdom of Stanton and killed his parents, the King and Queen. Orphaned, he took residence in Trallia, a neighboring kingdom, where he met princess Lilia to whom he is engaged. However, tragedy struck again. The dragon, Haarlok, attacked Trallia and kidnapped Lilia. Lukas was overcome with fear and couldn’t react. Somehow he has to get the princess back. Lukas learns that to recover Lilia and destroy the dragon for good, he must face four life-threatening challenges. Can he overcome his fears and save Lilia? The king, Lilia’s father, is not optimistic. This is a fantasy adventure with opportunities to discover one's own human character.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 13; read yourself: 14 and up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 9
Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ also read by a student at Robbinsdale Cooper High School, New Hope, MN. This was part of our Use Your ABCs classroom literacy project.
Young Reader Reaction: BTSYA: Heir of the Forgotten Realm is a fantasy story suitable for middle school students. This simple tale had very little I disliked. I did have a little trouble with the unique names. The kings, lords, and nobles were difficult to keep separate as different people; the names were foreign and sounded rather alike in their style. This was a very minor detail that distracted me while reading, though. The story is captivating. The intense start throws the reader directly into the middle of an internal conflict with Lukas. It caught my attention and kept me reading for hours until I finished. I wanted to find out what exactly the conflict was and how he eventually solved it. I also admired the lessons at the end of the book. Though the lessons were ones parents are most likely to teach to their children, I feel that lessons taught and enforced by books are more likely to be retained. On the whole, I really enjoyed reading Heir of the Forgotten Realm. I would definitely purchase this book for my middle school friends to read. Robbinsdale student: This book couldn't keep my interest; I kept falling asleep.
Adult Reader Reaction: This story is valuable from several perspectives. First, it will engage readers because of the fantasy and adventure. Yet it goes beyond that by offering substance and opportunities for the readers to think about what is happening and what THEY would do.
Pros: The story grabs the reader right away. This is a work of fantasy and readers will get excited about the adventures and characters. It is also an allegory and provides the reader/listener with very real moral and ethical issues to ponder.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. There is plenty to entice you: dragons, knights, fair ladies, secret maps, codes, and stories with substance and meaning.
Educational Themes: There are at least two levels from which this book can be read and appreciated. The first and most obvious is that of a fast-moving and exciting fantasy tale, Lukas taking on the four life-threatening challenges to save Lilia. In the second level, the author deals with everyday moral and ethical quandaries that children experience as they grow up. The savvy teacher, parent, counselor, or coach will find lots of valuable things to share with their charges.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 9.0 The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, life lessons
Date(s) Reviewed: August 2007
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