Review: Beyond the Summerland
Beyond the Summerland by L.B. Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Written for middle school age from a Christian worldview, Graham mimics Tolkien in creating a fantasy world. Unity among men and other races against the bad guy is essential to victory.
This is the first of five, and I've only read this one, yet. They are lengthy and a bit wordy. Universe creation, character development, and plot motion are tricky to pull off all at once, and Graham leans toward the second. This creates the needed suspense of plot action, but there isn't much hinting at the broader world, yet. The literary style isn't as grand as the Inklings, but it's a decent accomplishment.
The violence is graphic at times (battle) but not gratuitous. It maintains clear gender distinction amidst battle strategy (i.e., no women in combat).
There are love interests, and the author dwells on them at length. The characters are several years older than the typical reader, which may cause problems for some (the characters can handle what they go through, but could the reader?). But generally it is very tame, and also helps readers think through how they should handle romance when it comes. It handles the relationships with maturity, upholding self-control and self-less-ness. It may be useful to have children read stories like this before they hit adolescence. Probably has more influence with the kids than the direct "date [or not] this way" book.
Unconventional plot twists added interest - no spoilers!
This is perfect if you don't know what to give your growing boy (12-15 ideal) to read, anymore!
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