Circle of Light #1: Greyfax Grimwald by Niel Hancock

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Title: Circle of Light 1: Greyfax Grimwald by Niel Hancock

Notable: Book #1 in the Circle of Light series

Premise:

Dwarf, Bear and Otter cross over Calix Stay, the river which separates the World Before Time from Atlanton Earth.  Though initially unsure of the purpose of their quest, they meet some wizards and a few trustworthy humans who help keep them safe and guide them along their journey.  The three unassuming friends have a pivotal role to play in the fight against the Dark Queen, who seeks to gain control over all the earth.

My thoughts:

We’re going really retro here!  This is one of the books that came in my Books by the Foot sci-fi/fantasy box. It started out on shaky footing from the start, when it stated on the cover, “Beginning a great new saga for all who love THE LORD OF THE RINGS!”  The author was just setting himself up for some unflattering comparisons and critiques.  If the cover hadn’t mentioned The Lord of the Rings, I would have read this with a completely open mind.  As it was, I was too busy trying to compare the two.

Circle of Light is not even in the same league as The Lord of the Rings,  It’s like saying that Palmers and Ghiradelli chocolates taste the same.  Anyone with a modicum of good taste can tell the difference.  In addition to that, many elements of the story seem like a direct rip-off of The Lord of the Rings.  But let’s lay those issues aside and simply talk about the merits of this story.

The plot isn’t bad.  There are a few scenes which have the potential to be interesting and epic.  Unfortunately, the writing is such that even major battles come across as mundane and boring.  FYI–the story ends without any resolution, so you’ll have to read the next in the series to get to a satisfying stopping point.

I like the choice of animals as main characters.  Bear and Otter are probably the two most endearing characters.  Dwarf, the other main character, is a bit of an enigma.  He seems a bit off, as if there are two warring personalities at work within him.  If a character is going to exhibit behavior at both ends of the spectrum, there should be a good reason for it.  Please author, what is the character’s motivation for acting the way he does??  Let me bring up another issue–character names.  Holy cow, this story is chock full of names–multiple names for many characters.  It got to be very confusing and didn’t add to the story at all.

Overall, I was not impressed with this book.  The writing style and execution were subpar, the characters uninteresting, and the events rather boring.  If you’re young and just want a so-so fantasy adventure to read, you might not mind Greyfax Grimwald.  If you have a more sophisticated palate when it comes to your fantasy novels, I’d say skip it.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence
  • The a-word is used a few times (as in someone is being a dunce)

Rating: 2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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4 Favorite Children’s Books #5

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Here are more of our favorite children’s books coming your way!  Are any of these your favorites, too?

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff

Mouse goes to the movies and gets a kit for making a popcorn string, which he wants to put on the Christmas tree.  Along the way, he gets distracted into making a snow mouse and from there subsequently gets distracted into doing a whole string of other Christmas activities.  We absolutely love these books which feature Mouse.  They are full of fun and action, and the illustrations are just wonderful.

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell

This is a simple and cute story about a little bear who can’t go to sleep because it’s too dark.  Big Bear brings a lantern, but Little Bear says it’s still too dark.  So Big Bear brings another, and another, and another…  When all of the lanterns have been lit and Little Bear says it’s still too dark, Big Bear takes him outside to look at the light from the stars and the moon.  Finally Little Bear falls asleep.  This book has a lot of repetition and would be good for a child who is afraid of the dark.

Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Spencer has too many toys.  They are spread out all over the house, and he just keeps getting new ones for birthdays, Christmas, etc.  Finally, Spencer’s mother says that it’s time to get rid of some toys, but how can he part with his special friends?  He and his mother haggle over which toys to get rid of, until they’ve filled one box.  However, Spencer can’t bear to get rid of the box–the best toy ever!  Does any of this sound familiar?

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

This book is absolutely adorable!  It’s a perfect bedtime story, leading your child to perform a simple action on each page of the book, and gradually calming them to be ready for sleep.  The illustrations are lovely and I think I’ll be purchasing this one for my daughter’s next birthday.  It’s one of my new favorites.

Goodbye House by Frank Asch

Goodbye House

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Goodbye House is a simple book about moving to a new house. Baby Bear and his family have just finished packing the moving van, when he decides to go back into the house because he thinks that he forgot something.  He looks over the entire house and then remembers with his parents what the living room looked like when it was occupied.  Although the house is empty, it is full of their memories. His father takes him around to say goodbye to all of the different parts of the house, ending with the entire house.  They get into the moving van and drive away from their old house.

I think this is a great book for young kids who are faced with the prospect of moving.  Moving can be a scary and sad experience for them, so this is a nice book to share with kids who are feeling a little uncertain about the process.  As with all of Frank Asch’s books–the illustrations are simple, bright and charming.

 

Toodles,

Jewls & Lori