Welcome to another Sunday book review. Although it’s Palm Sunday and 9 days into spring, It’s -8 C outside which feels like -14 C with the wind–that’s 7 F for my American friends. You know, its sounds so much colder in Celsius! This morning, I’d like to talk about a great new series that captured my interest when I read it last year.
As a high school teacher, I taught several YA novels–books like The Giver, Holes, The Chrysalids, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Lord of the Flies, Z for Zachariah, A Separate Peace, The Pigman–all chosen for study because they had teenage heroes and heroines, but most of those books didn’t have happy endings. In fact, if you’ve read them, you know that many are set in a world where I’d rather not live. While The Pigman is humorous at times, I’m not sure it’s the best book for rebellious grade ten boys, and don’t even get me started on Lord of the Flies for role models.
Have you ever wondered why some books are chosen for schools and others aren’t? I used to think it was because someone in Toronto, (where curriculum decisions are made in Ontario) really hated teachers and wanted to see them suffer by taking what was a good book, totally ripping it apart to suck every last drop of entertainment our of it fro the students by making them analyze the thing to death. As an author, I now know that all of that served no purpose. Am I a critical reader–for sure, but I don’t have to do plot graphs, character sketches, plot analysis to enjoy a book. I read it!
If I could go back in time and had complete control over what I did in a classroom, I can guarantee my study of English literature would be very different. I’d teach reading appreciation. Read the book, now tell me what you remember about it, what made it memorable fro you and why’d you’d recommend it to a friend, why you’d read it again. That’s the way i feel about The Tethering, by Megan O’Russell. This is the first book in a series, and no, everything is not resolved at the end, and that’s a good thing, because you know there’s more coming.
All sixteen-year-old Jacob Evans wants is to win the heart of Emilia Gray, but with order in the magical world crumbling, war threatening, and Emilia’s boyfriend living across the hall, he may never have the chance. Jacob Evans loses everything he has ever known and is tossed into a world of magic. The Dragons, a group of rebel wizards, are threatening to expose the existence of magic to humans. Jacob is determined to find a way to fit into Emilia’s family, but as his powers grow, so does the danger. With the death toll mounting, Jacob is accused of acts of rebel terrorism and must fight to stay in a world he’s only just beginning to discover. When Emilia’s life is threatened, Jacob must risk everything to save her. Does he have the power to rescue her in time? And what could their survival cost?
When I first started to read the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. beyond what I’d read in the blurb, but I was in for a pleasant surprise. It didn’t take long for to to realize this was a story while similar to Harry Potter books, was written in a darker, more dangerous world where wizards and other magical creatures play for keeps. Jacob’s life hasn’t been a pleasant one, with an absentee father, no mother, and his only friend, a girl who vanished from his life years ago. When he learns of his father’s death, Jacob loses it–but he doesn’t realize he’s the reason all the windows in his school are broken. Frightened and alone, he goes home and is surprised when his one friend, Emilia, the girl’s he’s always cared for comes for him and what was a bad day turns into a living nightmare.
Discovering he’s a wizard isn’t an easy thing for Jacob to appreciate, especially when he can’t “do” magic.T make matters worse, Emilia has a rich boyfriend who happens to be good at magic and lives across the hall. Bummer, right? But when the magic world finds itself embroiled in a war with the Dragons, a group of wizards led by a very powerful sorcerer, and Emilia disappears, Jacob will do anything to find her and save her from a fate worse than death. Even if it means binding himself to her forever.
I loved the story. The characters are well described and the plot flows smoothly. I would encourage you to buy the Tethering. The second book, The Siren’s Realm is out next month, so you have time to read this one in time for the next installment. I’ve had the pleasure, and let me tell you it’s a real treat, but that’s another book review.
You can get The Tethering at: