IMPYRIUM for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

A nine year old looked in awe at my copy of Impyrium and said, “It’s bigger than the 51bb0sMVXGL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Bible!” Yes, it’s quite hefty, but when you create a new world for readers it takes time and a great plot.

Throw in a few interesting characters like 12-year-old Hazel Faeregine and 13-year-old Hob, and you have a story worth your time.

The chapters are lengthy so teachers will shy away from reading it out loud, and those reluctant readers will only get as far as the intriguing cover. For anyone else, jump right in and immerse yourself into a fantasy world, the beginning of an epic series.


FULL PLOT (From HarperCollins): In the first book of Henry H. Neff’s new high-stakes middle grade fantasy series, two unlikely allies confront a conspiracy that will shake the world of Impyrium to its core.

For over three thousand years, the Faeregine dynasty has ruled Impyrium. But the family’s magic has been fading, and with it their power over the empire. Whether it’s treachery from a rival house, the demon Lirlanders, or rebel forces, many believe the Faeregines are ripe to fall.

Hazel, the youngest member of the royal family, is happy to leave ruling to her sisters so that she can study her magic. But the empress has other plans for her granddaughter, dark and dangerous plans to exploit Hazel’s talents and rekindle the Faeregine mystique. Hob, a commoner from the remote provinces, has been sent to the city to serve the Faeregines—and to spy on them.

One wants to protect the dynasty. The other wants to destroy it. But when Hazel and Hob form an improbable friendship, their bond may save the realm as they know it…or end it for good.


  1. These new worlds often confuse the heck out me, but this time I found a glossary in the back and read it first. The new words became less confusing as I read them in the opening chapters. Worked for me so give it a try when you take on the story.
  2. There is a lot of mystery going on here, but it’s fun changing your mind about a dozen times figuring out just who is bad and who is good. Infectious story telling!
  3. The pacing at first is slow as the world building is molded for readers, but by the end you’ll be gasping at every word.
  4. Hazel is the youngest of triplets and each of them have unique personalities often present in families. Hob though was my favorite. He’s brave, cocky at times, and oh so vulnerable. I’m anxious for him to succeed.
  5. Upper middle grade fantasy lovers finally have another series to embrace. Twists and unexpected surprises will have them clamoring for the continuation of this fantastic new series.

“Good.” said Dàme Rascha. “This was your idea so you will come too. You can show Her Highness all the muirish things. And if anything goes amiss, you’ll be at hand so I can kill you.”

Hob smiled.

The vye did not

AUTHOR QUOTE (from Henry’s Web site):

I was an artist before I was a writer. We had a big drawing board at the Neff house–a battered, scribbled-over panel of wood that I would lay out on the floor. With pencil, pen, crayon, or markers, I would create whole worlds–taped together panoramas of monsters and knights and smoldering ruins. I loved monsters–from Grendel lurking outside Hrothgar’s hall, to the Minotaur, to the motley host in Sendak’s, Where the Wild Things Are. If it had claws and teeth and malicious intent, I wanted to draw it. Still do.”


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

MMGM2shannonI finally met our fearless leader at a book signing in nearby Boulder, CO last Friday night for Shannon’s new Keeper of the Lost Cities novel, LODESTAR . She spoke to a standing room only packed house at the Boulder Book Store. You are one huge rock star, Shannon!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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8 Responses to IMPYRIUM for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. I agree with you. This sounds like a great new fantasy series for upper middle grade readers. Sounds like a story I could really get into. Thanks.

  2. Yes, this sounds like a book for older teens. But, it does sound like a book you could get lost in — in a good way! Excellent review.

  3. cleemckenzie says:

    I loved that nine-year-old’s reaction! Big books can be scary, but oh so worth diving into. Hope kids discover that with this book.

  4. Thanks for your thorough and honest review. I’ve been dying to get my hands on this one. Hopefully it won’t take me as long to finish as the Bible.

  5. warrchick says:

    I got to listen to Henry Neff (and his agent) talk about his book about a month ago, at SCBWI Carolinas, and was thoroughly intrigued by the discussion. Your review has cinched it for me–Impyrium is going on my list!

    I’m envious you got to meet Shannon. My daughter and I are fans of Keeper of the Lost Cities, so we hope to get our books signed one day!

  6. First, I LOVE Henry Neff (I’ll have an online interview with him to share soon) and I loved IMPYRIUM. I had to make the shift away from the Tapestry characters, but once I did I fell in love with Hob and Hazel, too!
    Second, I am SO JEALOUS that you got to me Shannon. We’ve been online pals for almost six years, but I have never had the joy of meeting her. Lucky you!! 🙂

  7. Thanks for this review. The book is getting a lot of buzz and your review makes it very enticing, even for a not-much-of-a-fantasy reader like me. Thanks for the post and the up-date on Shannon’s travels.

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