Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Review - "Battling the Unknown"

As I put the finishing touches on the first draft of my own book this week, I would like to introduce a "guest blogger" - my daughter, Valentina. In the 6th grade, Valentina loves reading and is a capable writer. I have asked her to review fantasy book "Battling the Unknown", the first in a trilogy written by 16-year-old Meg Christian from New Hampshire. A friend of her family (her dad's a pastor) asked for my opinion on it, and I hope soon to have time to review it myself. In the meantime, my literature-loving daughter has stepped up to the plate with her own insight.

I found the cover art a bit racy, and hope that Miss Christian will take that into consideration with the forthcoming two books. Much to her credit, the author is donating all royalties from the book to help the homeless in NH. Great job!


In Meg Christian’s book “Battling the Unknown”, Book 1 of “The Last Rawl Trilogy”, there were many pros and cons, although for the most part it was interesting. I found myself often thinking about what would happen to Katrina Rawl, the main character, during her exhausting adventures.

First of all, the story begins when Katrina was only six years old and she was living with her dying mother. Her mother’s last words to Katrina were “find Amile the Warrior”. Years later, Katrina was living with her crabby aunt working in the humid outdoors and eating potatoes every single night, and she found out that the evil Umberodian government wanted her. Katrina runs away, visits numerous cities much different from her own, and tries incredibly hard to keep her identity safe and hidden. Along the way she meets Twitter, an obnoxious bird, and Arlon, a trustworthy man. They both accompany Katrina on her long journey to find Amile and to be safe. Eventually, in the very last few pages, Katrina finds Amile, and leaves the book in suspense while the government is still furious that they haven’t found Katrina.

Some of the things in this book I didn’t really like. I didn’t like how in every single chapter most of the paragraphs went on and on explaining too much detail. This made Katrina’s adventures a little boring. One example is when she climbed into a dark tunnel and I felt like I was reading paragraph after paragraph on what the tunnel looked like and what was at the other end of the tunnel. I was yawning. I also didn’t like how at the end of some chapters the book leaves suspenseful parts at the end, and the next chapter is about something different. For instance, at the end of one of the chapters, Katrina was in one of the cities and a suspicious person was watching her. I was wondering what would happen next, but the chapter after that just explains that she ran and continued traveling. Other than that, I enjoyed reading this book.

I liked many things in Meg Christian’s book. I liked how there was a map in each chapter explaining where Katrina was going during her journey. It helped me visualize the route that Katrina took much better. I also liked how Katrina met some nice and hospitable people during her adventure who took care of her for a few days. She wasn’t totally alone. I liked how Katrina never gave up even if her goal to find Amile was difficult. I wonder what she will discuss with Amile in the next book.

I recommend “Battling the Unknown” to anyone who likes adventure, suspense, or fantasy books in general. I liked this book, and I’d really like to read the next one.

Valentina, age 12

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have also read the book Battling the Unknown. It was recommended to me by a friend. I started the story and could not put it down. I liked the way she left you hanging at the end of the chapter and kept the reader wondering until the end which leaves you wanting to read the next book. She did fill in the blanks but you had to progress in the story to figure it out. I enjoyed the range of characters from Twitter, the bird, to the evil ruler. The detail just brought the fictional area to life with me. Found the names of the towns a lot of fun.
It is fun to read other reviews and thought yours was well thought out.