This book by Pricilla Shirer (with Gina Detwiler) is the first in what will be a trilogy. The story starts out in our world introducing several kids. Two brothers, Xavier and Evan, are arguing and one gets in trouble while the other does not. Two friends, Levi and Brianna, watch as a boy gets bullied. The four kids get pulled into another world called Ahoratos where they are immediately faced with chaos and danger. They are given armor and instructions by their guide and left to navigate through the world. They have to trust the armor and instructions, or make their own decisions which lead to traps and more danger. Eventually they are returned back to our world and because of their experience in Ahoratos, they are able to make better decisions in every day life. The await the possibility of returning to Ahoratos for more adventures.
Although written with tween boys in mind, this book may appeal to tween girls as well being that one of the main characters is a girl. I really liked the message of the Armor of God and how it protects and guides the children. I think that my favorite part of the book is how the lessons learned in Ahoratos were immediately applied to their everyday life. I like the reminder that there is an unseen battle and enemy that we have to face equipped with Biblical truths, courage, and the tools that God gives us. Before reading the book, I read several raving positive reviews and was looking forward to reading it. However, I did not find it to be as great as everyone claimed it to be. It is okay, but I do not think that it deserves to be praised as similar to The Chronicles of Narnia (which several reviews I read mentioned) and I do not think that is anywhere near the same level of writing as C. S. Lewis. I also felt that there were far to many characters, unusual names, unusual places, scenes etc. to keep track of. Many of the names in of people, places, and things in Ahoratos are so unusual that even the kids in the story could not pronounce them correctly. As an adult, I found it somewhat difficult to follow. There is definitely action and adventure that would most likely appeal to the tween age group though. I just cannot personally jump on the excitement bandwagon but like I said before, it is an okay book with a good message. I gave it to my 9 year old daughter to read, and she says she likes it. I think that she is having some trouble reading it because of the unusual names, etc. like I mentioned above. She also did not recognize the Christian parallels, like the Armor of God, until I pointed them out. Once I pointed out some of them, she started to figure out others on her own. She has not finished the book yet. Even though she says she likes it, I think she has lost interest in it. She only goes back to read it when I tell her to do so. Based on the observations I see with her, I think that it may need to be read and discussed with younger children. Older children may have an easier time reading and understanding it without help.
In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that B&H Books provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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