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Summary: Arhionvar, the dread magic, is coming. Why can't the magisters see that? It is their job, yet only Connwaer, Magister Nevery, and Lady Rowan seem to be able to accept reality. Because he is still banished from Wellmet, it is not easy for Conn to communicate with Nevery; still, they find a way to make their plans to protect the city. First, Conn must find a new locus magicalus. His search takes him deep into a dragon's cave and reveals truths that may ultimately save Wellmet, but at what cost? This is the third volume in this adventure of an orphaned boy who has become a magician-in-training.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 8 and up
Reading Level: 4.2
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: I don't know if there will be another book after this one, but I have truly enjoyed meeting Connwaer, Nevery, Rowan, and even Captain Kerrn. The stories are well paced with plenty of action, but not so many characters or activities to overwhelm the audience - especially dormant readers.
Pros: Dragons, magic, adventure, and well-developed characters make this an easy draw for upper elementary and middle grade audiences. The story is wholesome, extremely well crafted, and will make readers think!
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a wonderful, wholesome series with plenty of adventure and suspense, but not so much to scare an audience with elementary and middle-grade listeners.
Educational Themes: This is a book meant for fun reading, but there are lessons in responsibility, problem solving, and community. With older audiences, you could talk about what makes a family, justice/injustice, adult-teen relationships, and symbolism (blackbirds).
Notes: The publisher donated an advance review 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, mystery, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: June 2010
Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews or see reader feedback found at the time of this review.