The Serpent’s Ring (Relics of Mysticus #1) by H.B. Bolton
Genre: MG Fantasy
Overall: I know that it might seem cruel to rate this mediocre when I liked the story so much. The Serpent’s Ring hit a few pet peeves and if you aren’t bothered by these things, then this could be a 5 star book for you. I let my 9 year old *nephew* read the first few chapters and he adored the characters and the action. Now that I’m done reading, he can’t wait to finish.
Firstly, the beginning is slow and it feels like every other fantasy novel. There’s a couple of kids who get an epic quest, some magical powers, and have to finish it before the world ends. Another things is that there isn’t much “he said, she said” in this book. There are quite a few “exclaimed, grunted, yelled, shouted, declared” and so forth. Besides that, the book is very well written.
Characters: What I really appreciated about this book was the fact that Evan and Claire had personality and attitude. A lot of main characters in this age group are timid and follow adults without question, but not these two. Evan is sarcastic and definitely thinks that he knows what is best for himself – just like a fourteen year old teenager does. He does hold his tongue on a few occasions in this book, but only when an outburst might be lethal. He’s blunt but not stupid. It’s hard to say which sibling acts more mature. Claire is better at keeping a calm head in stressful situations but she can be such a GIRL! at times. I like how the two didn’t always get along, yet they knew the other sibling would always be there when needed.
Plot: Though horribly predictable at first, I liked the twist and pacing after Evan enters the underwater world. The first few chapters are bogged down with explanations about this magical world and Dr. Irving’s disappearance and connection to the serpent’s ring. Once the world was established, then this book shined. I just wish that the beginning was less dialogue and introduction. The later chapters managed to create a believable and visual world underwater effortlessly.
Ending: I kind of expected The Serpent’s Ring to end on a cliffhanger and it didn’t. The plot was wrapped up nicely and there’s little teasers for what to expect in book two. I was kind of surprised how long the children remained in the world after the plot wrapped up. Typically in this genre, the honeymoon is over quickly and the kids are shipped back home in the next paragraph. Not here. Definitely a different sort of ending then I’m used to and I liked that.
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum … that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.
Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.
Kids and teenagers will love this MG fantasy.
I received a copy of this book from CBB Book Promotions as part of a tour in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads.)
Currently, Barbara Brooke resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write spellbinding, heart-pounding women’s fiction, she also writes books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young adult fantasy story. These particular books are written under the name H.B. Bolton, but that is another story altogether.