Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes

Book One of The Celestine Chronicles.

Ms. Reyes says that this book, or series of books, started out as a bedtime story for her son, Marcum. It’s high fantasy, owing certainly something to Tolkien and to Star Wars, as most of this kind of fantasy does. Marcus and five other boys from his village, Quendel, set out on a Great Quest to find the Rock of Ivanore. Marcus takes with him a magical key and a walking stick named Xerxes. If the boys succeed, they will be heroes; if they fail they will return to disrespect and menial jobs in the village for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately for the boys, they have no idea what the Rock of Ivanore is or where to find it.

Marcus is an orphan, of course, and he has daddy issues. The other boys, including Kelvin, also an orphan and sort of a secondary protagonist, are described and take part in the action, but I never could pin down what made any of them tick. Why is Kelvin so prickly and distrustful of strangers? Why does Marcus steal something that belongs to Kelvin and only return it when forced to do so? Why does anyone follow Jerrid, the mayor’s son? The other three boys are mostly inconsequential afterthoughts; they sometimes play a part or have a bit of dialog, but they’re not very memorable.

More interesting as characters were Jayson, the half-breed Agoran, part cat and part human, and Xerxes, the talking walking stick that only Marcus can hear. I wanted to know more about them and understand them both better. King Frederic of Dokur is a wimp and a whiner, but his son Arik makes an adequate villain.

At 350 pages of fairly large print, this book might satisfy fantasy adventure fans who are looking for something a little easier and/or shorter to read than Tolkien or Rowling. But it left me a bit cold. I couldn’t get too interested in the characters, their stories, or their fates until about three-quarters of the way through the book. I can, however, see the potential for improvement as this series continues.

Ms.Reyes’ blog:

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