Big thumbs up for Farworld: Water Keep

Water Keep (Farworld)On Wednesday, I collected Farworld: Water Keep from the post office. This is the new book from J. Scott Savage that I posted about a couple of months ago. Water Keep is the first in a five book fantasy series called Farworld. J. Scott Savage has published several other books, but this is his first young adult book and first fantasy series.
Although it is aimed at young adults, I found myself enjoying it immensely. As with almost every other fantasy book, there will be elements that are similar to other writer’s fantasy worlds, but it didn’t read as a copy and stood well on its merits. Aspects of it reminded me of J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s ‘DeathGate Cycle’. The characters, creatures and locations weren’t over detailed, but sufficiently enough to guide your imagination picturing the story as you went along.

The story is about a 13 year old called Marcus, who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair. His parents died when he was young and he is being shuffled from one state-run boys’ school to another. He has dreams of an imaginary place that he calls Farworld and friend there, a girl his age, called Kelly or Kristen or something like that. While dreaming about Farworld, he has a vision of a black robed figure who tries to kill him. When he wakes up, he has a visitor at school, the man from his nightmare. He is rescued from this man, by Kyja, the the girl from his dreams who pulls him magically to Farworld, which isn’t a dream. Kyja is the only person on the magical world of Farworld who cannot do magic.

Farworld is in danger from the Dark Circle, and the two of them need to find the four types of Elementals, water, land, air and fire and get them to work together. The problem is, elementals don’t talk to each other and absolutely don’t talk to humans. They have to try anyway and set off for Water Keep, the home of the water elementals.

This book is the story of their adventures on their journey to Water Keep and although there are some predictable directions there are still many unexpected turns as well. I read it over the course of a couple of evenings and found it an easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will look forward to the next one in autumn 2009.

The real test of whether it worked as a young adult book was to let my son read it. When he came home from school on Friday, I told him that there was a book he could read if he wanted to. Bookworm that he is, he immediately started on it. I knew it was going well, when he didn’t take a break from it to play on the computer. By mealtime he had already read half of it, (I’m not sure, I think he reads even quicker than me). He took it up to bed with him and when we went up to say goodnight he was reading something else. Wondering if he had had enough, I asked if he had finished it and was answered enthusiastically ‘Yes, can you get me the next one please’. I explained that it wouldn’t be out until autumn next year and after a short pause got ‘I can’t wait until autumn 2009′. I think it was a hit.

He particularly like the ‘huge fish’ at Water Keep and when two characters got turned into fish. He thinks it is as good as The Hobbit, so there’s a big vote.

So, thank you Scott, from two very satisfied UK readers.

Scott’s website for the series has moved to http://www.readfarworld.com.

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