The Lord of Salamander

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Elijah Pendleton’s adventure begins when he rescues a cat caught in an oak tree. That’s pretty normal for any thirteen year old (at least, any good-hearted thirteen year old), but not when there has never been an oak tree in the yard before. It’s impossible to say whether things grow odder when the oak tree vanishes.

Well, they do, but not because of the oak tree. Things grow odder because Elijah Pendleton is in a YA adventure novel.

Alexander uses multiple tropes frequent readers of such novels will recognize, but chief among them is Elijah’s home life. He’s miserable at school, but part of that is because he lives with two aunts reminiscent of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker from James and the Giant Peach. His aunts are physically and emotionally abusive, but Elijah is granted rescue — of a sort — when he learns two facts about his long-lost parents. First, they are Enchanters, and he has inherited their magical abilities. Second, they are not in Hawaii, as he was brought up to think, but in a land called the Mythic Realms, held captive. What follows, as Elijah sets out to rescue them, is an epic adventure that puts me in mind of the fantasy novels I devoured all through middle and high school.

While I’m certain this book would be enjoyed by girls who were like me and will read every fantasy novel they can get their hands on, its primary audience will be boys in middle and early high school. Elijah’s travels are thrilling, and the Mythic Realms equal any high-fantasy world I can recall from my own reading adventures. His companions (because what’s a YA quest novel without companions?) hit the perfect balance between being amusing and genuine, with a delightful wit that any preteen will enjoy.

My one complaint about the book is purely cosmetic and may well not bother most readers. There are a few handwritten notes throughout, and the fonts chosen to present the handwriting were difficult to read without squinting. Skimming over them rather than reading every word didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, but those with poor eyesight or who enjoy reading in dim light (for instance, when they should be asleep) may struggle at those points. On the whole, however, the book was a delight to read, bringing back memories of when I would set down a similar novel and fantasize about what my own adventures might be like if I were an Enchanter. This is the best new YA novel I’ve read all year.

Reviewed By:

Author T.H. Alexander
Star Count 5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 292 pages
Publisher CreateSpace
Publish Date 2018-Dec-14
ISBN 9781543125832 Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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