Joshua of Gaia

How long has it been since I reviewed something for older kids?  Let's break that spell right now. 

*Chapter lengths are ideal for frenzied bursts of reading -- I felt like I could devour fifty pages in what felt like seconds, put it down for a while and then pick it up again without having to dive back into the middle of something I had arbitrarily placed my bookmark on  
*The inclusion of an ominous limerick before the first chapter really set the stage for what was to come
*Spends the perfect amount of time in the orphanage for two reasons: first, it allows Joshua's character to unfold/develop before us and, secondly, it grounds the reader in a world we 100% understand (Earth), so we almost feel like we're along for the ride when everything changes 

*Entirely too many instances of people not explaining things to Joshua and his travelling party -- while that helped to build suspense throughout, it also began to wear on me (after the tenth or so time it happened, I wondered aloud why Joshua didn't just stop and refuse to move on until he got a proper answer to his question) 
*Anyone familiar with the following projects will find at least one obvious link to them in here: Harry Potter (magic, two boys plus one girl dynamic), Lord of the Rings (a mysterious quest that requires everyone's unique skills, wars from centuries ago being rekindled), Star Wars (unexplained link to family and the infliction of real damage by a pantomimed choke-hold), and Predator (covering the body with mud to avoid detection by a fierce warrior clan) 
*Seriously, how big are their backpacks... because they seem to fit a Walmart's worth of supplies in those things -- a simple fix would have been to say someone came up with a potion or salve that made them special (much like the hidden door in the tunnel)

Author M.G. Russell contacted me (all the way from Australia) to see if I'd review her latest work.  I said I would be more than happy to do so, as long as she understood that her direct interaction with me wasn't going to improve the book's rating.  Relishing the challenge, she sent me a copy that arrived roughly a week ago.  At first, I was afraid I wasn't in the mental place to take on a 75,000 word project.  But then one night over the weekend, I forced myself to start in, and, boy, am I glad I did.  Despite my three objections above, I totally enjoyed Joshua of Gaia.  It held my interest all the way from cover to cover, so I have no doubt that it will do the same for any of your kids who are over the age of nine.  Pop online and Buy it today

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