MandaBerry's Books

One person's thoughts on a whole lot of books

Tag Archives: YA fantasy

Review: The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

from the dust jacket

Sent into the forest to gather firewood for the medieval abbey where he’s an apprentice, Will hears a cry for help and comes upon a creature no bigger than a cat.  Trapped and wounded, it’s a hobgoblin, who confesses a horrible secret: Something is buried deep in the snow, just beyond the graveyard.  A mythical being doomed by an ancient curse…

What does this mystery have to do with the cryptic brotherhood of monks Will serves? What does it have to do with the boy himself? When two cloaked figures darken the church’s doorway and start demanding answers, Will is drawn into a dangerous world of Old Magic.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I Got It: Won in a First Reads Giveaway from

I enjoyed this.  It was interesting to see how the author combined English fairy lore and Christian elements. The main characters – Will, Brother Snail, and the hob – are all likable and the mystery had me guessing until the end. It’s a great achievement when the author doesn’t give too much away through foreshadowing, and allows the reader to solve the mystery alongside the narrator. I think more details about the characters and more description of certain events would have added to this book. I know I would have liked to read more about these characters, and learn why they acted in a certain way.  I feel like this is aimed towards upper middle school readers, but older teens and adults may enjoy this too.


Review: Here, There be Dragons by James A. Owen (Imaginarium Geographica #1)

Here, There be Dragons by James A. Owen (Imaginarium Geographica #1)

from the back of the book

An unusual murder…a life-changing adventure.

John, Jack, and Charles are strangers brought together by the Imaginarium Geographica – an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable, and fairy tale.  On the eve of the murder of a caretaker of the Geographica, the men learn that it is now up to them to protect the atlas from the Winter King, an evil conqueror gaining strength in the world of the imaginary.  After securing one of just seven ships that can cross into the imaginary lands, the three men set out to find the Winter King before he builds a deathless army that no force on Earth can defeat.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Bookshelf: No

How I Got It: Bought

Stories that draw inspiration from myths and legends are my weakness – I have to read them. Seriously, mention mythology and it’s added to be TBR pile. Kryptonite.

First off, the cover illustration is beautiful, as are the illustrations throughout the book. I’ve always been a fan of fine line pen drawings, and Mr. Owen is indeed a talented artist.  Book art aside, I really wanted to like it more than I did.  There’s a sense of urgency and that makes it a quick read, but I felt like something was missing. The story and the world building are interesting, but the characters fell a little short. I didn’t feel any connection with them. The main characters are 20-30-something year old men and that threw me a little, especially since this was in the Young Adult section of the bookstore. I don’t feel like I got to know the characters at all, and there wasn’t much personal history to go on. Then there’s a major character revelation at the end of the book that absolutely came out of nowhere. That was my main issue with the book. Maybe we’ll learn more about these men later in the series, but I’m not sure if I’m going to seek out the rest of the series.

All of that being said, I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series, and other fantasy series with magical creatures.