: Jack Staples and the Poet’s Storm
: Jack Staples #3
: Mark Batterson & Joel N. Clark
: Christian, Children’s Fiction
: David C. Cook
: June 1st, 2015
Synopsis: In this epic conclusion to the Jack Staples trilogy, Jack and Alexia must make an impossible choice during their final battle against the Assassin—one that could alter time itself and the fate of the world.
Jack Staples and the Poet’s Storm is a worthy ending to the trilogy about Jack Staples. It is not the strongest book in the series, the first book was far more enjoyable. This third and final book offer a conclusion to the storylines from the previous two books.
At times it did feel like a chore to keep reading, but it was nice to see the loose ends coming to a conclusion.
: Cottonmouth and the End
Series: Cottonmouth #3
: C. S. Fritz
: David C Cook
: May 1 2015
Synopsis: Not everyone has a furry beast for a best friend. But Freddie does. Tug loved Freddie so much he gave his life for him, then came back to life and left the boy with three mysterious gifts. Now Freddie’s determined to find Tug … but to do so, he must first discover the secrets of the gifts.
Cottonmouth and the End is the conclusion to the story of Freddie and his journey. Yellowthroat is still with him. The dark land he has entered will again test him, and he meets Menson the Deceiver again. In this book the parallel to the Gospel is much clearer than in the first two, but the story can still be enjoyed without adding religious dogma to the interpretation. It is a story of spiritual growth and moral. It shows us that there is nothing to be feared in the dark other than our own mind. Tug the King of the Great Blue makes a grand Aslanic entrance back into the story after Freddie has faced his final trials. All loose ties are tied up in the ending, I know where Freddie is going, I know where his parents are and I have a feeling of completion.
Again, the illustrations are great, but simplistic, and they are accompanying the words rather than drawing all the attention.
: Cottonmouth and the Great Gift
: Cottonmouth #2
: C. S. Fritz
: David C Cook
: September 1st, 2014
Synopsis:When his best friend comes back to life, Freddie is determined they’ll never be apart again. But to find him, Freddie must rely on three mysterious gifts Tug left him.
Again we meet little Freddy who is alone in his house. It takes a little while before Tug shows up with the task he has for Freddie. Alone, with only a bird, Yellowthroat, as a friend Freddie has to set out on a dangerous mission, to deliver a black egg to a sad girl.
The illustrations are still as spectacular and simplistic as in the previous book. The narrative is easy to follow and it’s just enough text.
“Tug was silent for what felt like many long minutes, and right as Frederick was opening his mouth to break the silence, Tug spoke listen very closely …Frederick. I have to tell you something very important. I need you to do something for me. I need you to go and deliver something to someone who is in grave despair. I don’t want you to be naïve, Frederic, this is a dangerous thing I ask of you.”
It is easy to see how this story is a retelling of the ascension of Christ into heaven as an adult reading the story, but the hints are not overwhelming which makes the book readable outside of a religious context as well. It is a story of struggles and friendship, which everyone can relate to.
Jack Staples and the City of Shadows
Jack Staples trilogy
: Mark Batterson & Joel N. Clark
:David C. Cook
: March 14th, 2015
Synopsis: The Assassin is closing in. Just as Jack and his friend Alexia discover what it means to be the Chosen Ones, they each face the test of a lifetime. For Jack it is a question of trust; for Alexia, of loyalty. Everything rests on their making the right choices, and on the completion of their missions. The Assassin expects they will fail, and that they will either join him or be destroyed. It will take all of the Author’s forces, the special gifts Jack and Alexia each have, and the help of their friends, Arthur and Mrs. Dumphrey, to overcome. But when the enemy makes a key move, and an important quest proves difficult, the prophecy—that they will both destroy and save the world—seems further from coming true than ever before.
My Review: Jack Staples and the City of Shadows is the second book in the Jack Staples trilogy, and it carries off from where the last book left off. The first few chapters are a bit slow to get through, and Mrs Dumphrey has quit a few lines that are trying a bit too hard to make her seem like an odd, wise, old lady. As soon as Mrs Dumphrey start speaking like a normal person and stop speaking in riddles and clichés the reading experience gets much more pleasant.
The action starts early in this book and the both Alexia and Jack has to carry their wits with them in the various situations they have to face. As the Assassin is closing in with all his power the two children of the prophesy is about to face the Test of their lifetime, it is important for them both to not make mistakes, but they are both only human and they are kids.
Just as the previous book there is a lot of time jumping in the narrative, and it is a bit hard to follow, but most of it ties together in by the end. Alexia’s back-story is explored a bit more, within the time-jumps, and we learn more about her characters.
The book is engaging and action packed, it is a good buildup for the next and final installment in the series. Hopefully the questions left unanswered in “Jack Staples and the City of Shadows” will be answered in “Jack Staples and the Poet’s Storm”
Posted in Book Reviews, Children's Fiction, Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Tagged books, christian-fiction, Jack Staples, Jack Staples and the City of Shadows, Joel N. Clark, Mark Batterson, Middle Grade
Horses and Friends (1)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
David C Cook
As much I wished to enjoy this book it did fall flat for me. The premise of the story was very promising: a young girl moving to a new place with her parents and autistic brother, and she find a horse abandoned in a meadow.
Though the premise of the story, where Kate searched for friendship in a Latino heavy community where her white skin is frowned upon, the story fall flat as the writer doesn’t attempt to create characters but rather create puppets to preach through. Kate never does anything wrong, she has a good dialogue with both her parents and she cares a lot for her brother. Nothing is wrong with having a good family with good relationships, but by making the family perfect (expect from financial struggle) takes away from developing real and believable characters. Obstacles comes into the way, but they also solve themselves without much suspense, which brings me back to say that the book is preaching. There is nothing wrong with a book holding up christian values, but there is a fine line between upholding a Christian moral and preaching. This book crossed far over in preaching-land: “Just do everything that is right, and everything you want will fall down in your lap.” The story would have been much more interesting and probably more entertaining had it not been so important for the author to be “political” (or rather “religiously”) correct throughout every page.
Another thing that was bothersome was the authors tendency to dump information on the reader, as well as having too wordy dialogues that over-explained everything.
Also the approach to horses in the book was uncomfortable. At more than one instance it is described how you can never trust a horse. My suggestion is: if you don’t trust the animal, don’t try riding it. I have been an active rider from a young age; a horse rider relationship is built on mutual trust and respect, not force and discipline.
Also, the pony that Kate complains about in the book is a large category II pony, a thirteen year old would not have complained that it was “not a real horse,” It is about 11 centimeters shorter than a horse. But that might be the single character-trait Kate has that makes up any conflict at all in this story: She complains if anything falls short of what she had in mind.