Narenta--the New Narnia, May 27, 2008
By Catherine Hassan
The Pevensie children are no longer the only ones being pulled away from their lives on Earth in order to set things right in another world. Meet Cara, a typical self-centered and shallow teenager. After purchasing a unique seabird pendant, she finds herself suddenly pulled out of her own world and into Narenta, into a society where everything looks rather medieval and the people are expecting an outworlder to come to their aid. They are all convinced that Cara has been sent by Alphesis, their Lord, to perform a deed that only she can accomplish. Cara is convinced that it's a mistake, and the only thing she wants to do is go home. Unfortunately, the more she tries to run from this task and find a way home the more she becomes embroiled in the danger of the Tumult. Some very nasty Demons (daemagos) are quite intent on killing her, no matter what her own intentions.
This is an engaging tale of high fantasy, one that Young Adults in particular should enjoy right from the beginning. At times it is humorous when Cara tries to communicate using typical teenspeak in a world that doesn't get all the expressions and slang. But that is only a small element of this novel. It is brimming with action and adventure, lots of battle scenes, but also some brilliant scenes filled with the life-altering experiences that Cara undergoes internally. Themes of light and Living Water weave their way throughout the tale, as do honor and the Joy of Obedience. This will teach some lesson painlessly; in fact, if you don't tell them there are any lessons, the teens won't see them coming! Characters have a great deal of personality, individual personalities so deep and unique that you'll feel like you really know them before the story is over. It's not all happily ever after and pie in the sky either. I highly recommend it. If you're looking for some summer reading material, please consider this one.
Catherine Hassan is on the staff of the Guild Review, where she reviews YA and children's books. ( www.guildreview.com ) She is also a CFRB preview board member.
For more of Cathi's writings, please see http://cathischatter.blogspot.com/
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