by Mitch Reinhardt
In Wizard’s Key, which is the first book in The Darkwolf Saga, we get to know a boy named Geoff. Geoff is a bit different and he’s bullied at school. When his bully Sawyer one day stops by Geoff’s house to return a book he stole from him at school, the two boys sneak in to Geoff’s father office. Here they find a strange key, which Geoff accidentally activates, and an archway appears in the office. A girl Geoff knows arrives at the house just when Geoff is being sucked into the archway, and in an attempt to save him the three kids get sucked into the archway and ends up in a strange new world.
Their new world is filled with dangers and all the three kids want to do is return home, something that turns out to be much more difficult than one can imagine. Not only does this new world lie on the brink of war, the kids are also stalked by a mysterious creature that will stop at nothing to end their journey.
Overall, I found this book to be really enjoyable. I was sucked in to the story and I wanted to know what happened to the kids. The writing was good and it was easy to read and it was easy to follow along in the plot.
The characters were developed fairly well and the worldbuilding was ok. I do have to admit I found the POV a bit confusing at times and I would have preferred to follow one character at a time. Perhaps Geoff in one chapter/scene and then Sawyer in the next etc. Now it kept shifting with every other sentence and paragraph and for me that took away from the enjoyment a bit. When I was into Geoff’s state of mind trying to figure out what he was feeling etc, then suddenly someone else was the main focus and I lost track of where I was. Another minor issue I has with the character development/wordbuilding was that I got major Word of Warcraft vibes when I read about the looks of the various creatures in this new world. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing per se, but for me it was a struggle at first.
I do find that the book was a tad bit hard to get into and it was a bit slow in the beginning, but as soon as the kids found themselves in the new world things took a sharp turn for the better, and I couldn’t really put the book down. I think the author did a very good job at keeping the interest in the story and everything flowed at a nice pace.
I liked the dialogue between the characters and the way they spoke to each other was a perfect way to make the reader get to know their personalities. I do, however, have a hard time picturing these kids as older than 12 years. They both spoke and acted in a very juvenile manor, and this book sort of felt more suitable in the Middle Grade genre than the Young Adult. Not that it’s a bad thing.
I’ll give this book a 3,5 stars out of 5, and I’ll of course round that up to a 4 star rating. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read a nice and easy fantasy story. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
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