'Little donkey little donkey on a dusty road'... With this haunting memory of her mum's bedtime lullaby echoing through her mind, Ella Stone has arrived at Blackcrowns Boarding School in Canterbury. She still has no answer to where her parents bodies are after their mysterious disappearance in Courcheval, France. Nor can she explain why suddenly the birthmark on her wrist has changed colour. The discovery of her birthmark, carved into the surface of an altar in the School's cellar, forces Ella to realise that the chain of events leading her to Blackcrowns in the first place, is now at its final stage. The threat of sacrifice forces Ella, her Step-Brother Jack and new friends Oliver and Harriet to take their only means of escape through four treacherous realms, beyond The Hall of Infinity hidden below Blackcrowns.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fascinating YA Action/Adventure. I really enjoyed it!
Ella Stone is a wonderful character. She is thirteen years old. I liked her very much. She can be a little too curious for her own good, but she is a kind and caring person. Sent to a boarding school with her step-brother, Jack, after the disappearance of their parents, Ella finds herself embarking on a mysterious and dangerous adventure.
I heard about this book on a Facebook post. The author was looking to raise funds to get this book published. I have crowdfunded a few books before, so decided that the synopsis sounded interesting enough to help out. I am glad I did, because this book had me riding on a roller coaster of emotions. I did find some of the plot to be a little cliche, such as the setting of a boarding school, but there is a uniqueness to the story that kept me totally hooked from beginning to end. This story is told through different points of view, mostly Ella and Jack's, but as Ella is the main character, she has the most say.
I loved meeting Jack, Ella's step-brother. He is thirteen years old too and is quite laid back and less intense than his step-sister, which made me like him a lot. He is a thinker. Rather than rushing into things, he gives thought to his actions and is less inclined to get into trouble. Oliver and Harriet are also orphans boarding at Blackcrowns. They are both likable characters whom I liked. George is an enigmatic character; I wasn't sure whether I should like him or not. He is the son of the governor or headmistress of the school, Mendra Mordel. Or is he? Could he be another orphan? I felt sorry for him, as he seems to be both physically and mentally abused by his parent. Mendra Mordel is not the most welcoming person, and has a forbidding countenance that instantly had me hating her.
This story is a mixture of action, adventure and dark fantasy. The characters are well developed and the story intriguing. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat during some scenes, as the suspense or danger in them held me captive. As I said above, I did find some of the plot a little cliche, but there are several twists and turns that surprised me and didn't see coming. This is a classic good versus evil story, combined with the excitement of an action adventure tale. When I reached the end, I was a little disappointed as I wanted to keep reading! This book does end in a cliffhanger, so I hope that the author is well on the way to completing the second book, because I want to read it as soon as possible to find out what happens next!
P.S. Ferns has written a fast paced, exciting debut novel. I love his writing style, which is fast paced without being rushed, and the flow was wonderful! This is an author to watch. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.
I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 12 - 18. I also recommend this book to adults who love reading YA Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton
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As a teenager I danced all over the UK as part of various dance groups and companies. In 2008 I graduated LIPA The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts with a degree in Dance. I currently teach and choreograph all over Liverpool and the Midlands.
I have always had a huge passion for writing and story telling, with an idea I had in my teens I finally set pen to paper in 2012 and I have just finished my first YA Fantasy Fiction novel 'The Element Order' released January 5th 2015 and published with Britain's next bestseller. I am now writing book 2 of the series in which their are 5.
I love to write about fantastical new worlds and amazingly scary or amusing characters. I like to take my reader on a journey of escape from the often stressful world we live in.
As a writer I like my books to be page turners, books you never want to put down but then I guess all writers want that? I write short snappy chapters and each ends on a cliff or at least I hope they do.
The Element Order series is a 5 book series so I'm going to be around for a while and I would love you all to be here with me on this mad journey I am on as a writer.