Sunday, August 10, 2008
61. Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage
Title: Farworld: Water Keep
Series: Farworld, Book 1
Author: J. Scott Savage
Format: ARC from author for review
Rating: 5/5 stars
Farworld: Water Keep is the first in a new YA fantasy series by J. Scott Savage. The story revolves around Marcus Kanenas, an orphan who dreams of a far-off world where his physical handicaps won't hinder him and magic is all around; a world he calls Farworld. In Farworld, animals and tree talk, fish can swim in the air, and everyone has magic, and Marcus is normal. Actually Farworld is a very real place, and there is a reason that he can dream of it so vividly. It is also the story of Kyja, who lives in Farworld, but considers herself handicapped there, for in a world where everyone has magic, she has none. Both kids think themselves outcasts due to their individual handicaps, but when circumstances force Kyja to bring Marcus to Farworld, both discover that their handicaps are really only in their minds, and that by working together, they may be able to save both Earth and Farworld.
It was a little slow going at first with Water Keep, but after I got into the flow of the story, it was hard to put the book down. J. Scott Savage has clearly fully imagined what Farworld is and what it's all about. The key to magic in Farworld centers around the Elementals, mythic creatures who control the 4 elements of water, air, land and fire. There are branches of white and black magic that can be accessed, but it is important here to keep a balance, otherwise you could fall completely into black magic and be corrupted forever.
The characters are fleshed out and believable; Marcus and Kyja, the skyte Riph Raph (imagine a small dragon), Master Therapass, the kindly fatherly wizard, all the myriad of magical creatures that inhabit Farworld, even the evil Thrathkin S'Bae; each of these characters are fully realized and each comes with his or her own back story. Savage does a great job including each person's history into the book without making it feel weighed down by excessive storytelling.
As a complete aside from the storytelling, I just have to mention how much I love the cover as well; it is almost worth the price of admission alone! I hope that they keep this same look uniform through the rest of the series.
Overall, a really fun book that has some great lessons to be learned for younger readers, but enough adventure and surprises to make it enjoyable for older readers as well. I'm looking forward to the future releases in the Farworld series.
Farworld: Water Keep will be released on September 12, 2008 by Shadow Mountain Publishing.