Synopsis via goodreads:
Afraid of being caught by trackers from another world, a young mother abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of a children’s home. The staff at the orphanage name him Hamelin Stoop, but he grows up longing to learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity.
Life is not easy for Hamelin. He belongs to everyone, though in some ways to no one fully. And the people he is closest to leave him one by one. A letter from an older friend advises Hamelin to “keep waiting and keep hoping.” Bitter experiences force Hamelin to wait, but he has to learn how to hope.
When the children’s home forgets his eighth birthday, he sneaks away at night. He soon discovers that he isn’t just running away — he is being summoned by the Ancient One. Guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, Hamelin must pass a dangerous test of courage before he can find his parents.
Hamelin’s failures, fears, and hopes become part of a larger story, a story of a great struggle between worlds and kingdoms where the old myths of magic, evil contracts, and enslaved children turn out to be real.Disclaimer* I received this as a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are my own and are in no way influenced by another party.
This book is a good start to what I hope to be a very captivating story and adventure. I love a good orphan, chosen one story
Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter, or Chronicles of Narnia anyone? and I did enjoy book one of this series, so much so in fact, that I immediately began book two upon finishing.
What I liked:
The characters were very easy to care for. I really enjoyed the friendship between Hamelin and his two best friends, Layla and Bryan. In the beginning chapters, I liked the staff who took him in and cared for him like family.
The flashbacks to his parents and his own past was a wild ride and added a larger sense of adventure to the beginning chapters, as well as, established the evil entity within the storyline without giving away all the mystery, which I thought was quite well done.
The last 30-25% of the book really gripped me and made me want to continue reading!
What could have been better:
I’m not sure this is purely YA, at least the beginning chapters, with Hamelin being only a small child, feel more like a Middle-Grade novel. That being said, I wouldn’t consider it Middle-Grade due to the violence that occurs in the flashbacks with his parents. I guess I wish that distinction would be a little clearer.
I wish the whole book could have swept me up in suspense and excitement like the last few chapters. Overall I wonder if this series wouldn’t have been paced more effectively as a duology or even a longer, stand-alone novel, but I suppose I’ll have to wait and see how the other two books work to see if that would be a viable option.
The last point is just a stylistic choice in writing. The writing style was just not exactly my cup of tea, it didn’t make me dislike the book or story by any means, but it did trip me up once in a while when I would come across a sentence or passage that I felt could have used a bit more polishing. A few of the sentences are reiterations of sentences from the paragraph before, but the reiteration doesn’t really bring any new information or add any more style to the passage, which I think could have been executed better.
At the end of the day, the tail-end of the book left me wanting more so I’m excited to see how Hamelin’s story continues to unfold. If you’re interested in this series you can learn more via the publisher’s website (not a sponsored or affiliate link).
Stay tuned for my review of book two!
Thanks for reading! -xo Amber
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