Airships and magic spells that create fire and slow time don’t exist in the real world. That was what Joseph Erift believed for seventeen years. They were just things you found in fantasy stories and video games. Or so he thought.
After winning an invitation to an exclusive game event and traveling halfway across the globe, Joseph is pushed on a journey by a coffee addicted professor that will forever change his life.
Now, to stop a vengeful young man from awakening an ancient power, he'll have to battle stone chimeras in flooded ruins, avoid dancing trees in an ancient forest, and learn to control the magic within him. It's the adventure Joseph always dreamed of, but now he worries he won't live to tell the story.
Secrets of The Sealed Forest is the first book in this middle-grade contemporary fantasty series for ages 10+ It follows a young protagonist overcoming incredible odds while meeting new friends during an unexpected trip that leads to a long road of self-discovery.
Tenera balances Eric’s exuberance and youthful energy with Joseph’s cautiousness and maturity making them a formidable dynamic duo to battle the dark forces as, with their world flipped upside down, Joseph and Eric discover the connection between science and magic and learn that there are strange forces at play, threatening Earth. Whether they are exploring secret passageways, outsmarting fantasy creatures, or navigating through a shadowy, enchanting forest, the two friends stick together and prove that friendship can combat any challenge, their relationship grounding the novel.
The fantasy elements and the young men’s bond will spark young readers’ interest, though at times the story tests plausibility, such as when the teens elect to sneak out of their homes and jet across the globe without consulting their parents, or their choice to stay on the island once Professor Thessit admits to luring them under false pretenses. Still, supporting characters briefly jump onto the page, whetting the readers’ appetites to learn more about these intriguing individuals in potential future books. Young readers fascinated with magical worlds will enjoy the adventure
Takeaway: Best friends jet off to an island for magical adventure and an epic fantasy quest.
Great for fans of: Diana Wynne Jones’s Eight Days of Luke, Will Wight.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"This is a great book for children of all ages and echoes the tales of Camelot and Atlantis. This is a dream come true for those who wish we had magical powers. J.T. Tenera's writing, by way of the "nutty Professor", focuses on the fact that we all have a little magic in us. I think that is a beautiful message to be sending out, especially to children who are easily influenced by what they come across online."
"This is a stunning debut novel that pushes the boundary of fantasy. The story is perfectly pitched at the intended audience with the sense of adventure filled with peril that will appeal to pre-teens, though as an adult I also found myself hooked into the world of Secrets of the Sealed Forest."