The Book of Names by D. Barkley Briggs
Reviewed by Lori Twichell, Radiant Lit
Genre: supernatural, adventure, YA
Publisher: Living Ink Books, Reprint Edition
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Hadyn and Ewan Barlow have had a rough time in their lives. When their mother passed away it left them, their two younger brothers and their father all on their own and their world had completely changed. It felt like the joy was taken from their lives. So when the boys are doing their chores and come across a unique stone archway, the excitement level rises for the first time in what feels like forever. Knowing that their father is still grieving the loss of their mother, the boys decide to handle it on their own, but as they soon discover, that adventure quickly gets out of control.
The boys find themselves lost in a land of magic, mystery, fairies and much overwhelming danger and unfortunately, they’re right in the center of it. With what appears to be no way to get back home the boys are drawn into a battle of epic proportions. Not only are they fighting for their lives, they also understand that their presence can be significant in the destiny of this land. When they end up separated, it lands on Ewan’s young shoulders to fight for his older brother’s life. Things get really dicey from that point on.
I heard fabulous things about these books before I picked them up. Several highly respected readers/reviewers told me that I would very much enjoy these books. I went into this book with high expectations. Briggs’ story captured my imagination from page one. My sympathy with the boys and their father as they deal with their grief was instant and immediate. Being a lover of fantasy masters like Stephen Lawhead and Piers Anthony I was ready for adventure and I was not disappointed on that score. With two young boys instantly immersed in a new land, Briggs was able to hold my interest, suspend any disbelief on my part and keep me intrigued with the prophecies and their stories. I really enjoyed it.
There were moments when the text was heavy in exposition. I bogged down a little way through and felt like it took a long time to get beyond that point, but once I did, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the story flowed. I enjoyed the adventure, the dialogue and the history of this new land.
I’m curious to see what happens next. This book was obviously a set up for books two and three in the series, so I’ve got book two, Corus The Champion, primed and ready to go. Let’s see where Briggs is going with this adventure…
*Review copy provided by Glass Road PR – THANK YOU!
* PG-13 – there are some frightening images and the overall tone of the book lends itself to a more mature feel, so it’s a good book to start with mature tweens and teens.