WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!
No, this isn’t my new autobiography. Instead what I’ve been carrying around for a month is a new book by Chris Rylander. I previously laughed my way through his contemporary THE FOURTH STALL. Here he opts for a fantasy set in Chicago.
The title is one I will always treasure, though the subtitle kind of ruined the moment for me. I can easily cover it up with a few fingers. The thing is, other than a certain wimpy kid (Greg Hefley), I finally have another middle grade protagonist sharing my first name. Too bad the neighbors and relatives have asked me to leave the book at home when I’m traveling about. I guess attaching it to the front of my bike or the car’s front bumper was going a bit too far.
The story centers around Greg Belmont, a short, well fed boy who has never been told he’s a dwarf. It’s not until a troll kidnaps his father that he learns of his past and future. There’s a whole underground beneath the windy city where dwarfs live. He ends up there and vows to get his father back—if his dad is even still alive.
His one friend above ground is an Elf named Edwin. The Elves and Dwarfs are now on the verge of war with each other and their friendship is challenged. Greg finds new dwarf friends who warn him of having nothing to do with any of the distrustful elves. None of this matters to Greg. His purpose in life now is to rescue his dad at all costs. Yes, not all goes as planned.
Forty-eight chapters keep the action moving. Greg’s first person narration takes you through the adventure and a partial conclusion. Little did I know until the end that this is a series. A few plot points are left undone for the second book. Fantasy lovers have another winning to disappear into and you don’t even have to be called Greg to enjoy the ride.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2018 PAGE COUNT: 352
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
- If you’ve ever been to Chicago, the fun is multiplied with all the iconic sights Greg visits, including a climatic finish at The Navy Pier.
- You get to know Greg and Edwin the most, but I’m sure the other characters will be developed more as the series moves forward. Both of the boys come from different backgrounds and seeing them as friends was a definite plus. But will it last?
- The stakes are high as the Technological Age is threatened to go away. Can you even imagine a world without cell phones or the Internet? Might be fun to try it for a day.
- Hilarious chapter titles like Chapter 15: The Grand Spectacle of Borin Woodlogger’s Big Toe or Chapter 11: There’s Bad Weather Brewing in My Guts.
- Despite this being a fantasy, real life themes of trust and commitment will ring true for the intended audience.
FAVORITE LINE (And it’s the first line):
It should come as no surprise that the day I almost got my face clawed off by a vicious monster was a Thursday.
Learn more about Chris Rylander and his books at his very unique web site.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.