by Emily Rodda.
Her writing is exciting and suspenseful. As the reader of fantasy you know some things are bound to happen – the youngest brother is going to be the chosen one, the magic is going to help him at the last minute, the ancient ways have been lost or misunderstood – but with this author, you are not going to know how these elements will unfold, even at the last minute. I love that!
Rye, pure of heart, is the youngest brother living in a land plagued with skimmers. They come to Weld by night in search of prey – they eat any living thing they can find, human or beast. Recently the attacks have been more severe and the Warden needs to take action. He issues a quest. Any man 18 or older who accepts the terms of the quest will leave by a secret way, previously only known of through the tales and legends surrounding Sorcerer Dann, Weld’s founder. While outside the city the quester must find and destroy the source of the skimmers. Upon returning, he will become the future leader of Weld. Rye’s oldest brother, Dirk, is strong, steadfast and a determined leader. He is 18 and among the first to accept the challenge. A year later he has not returned. Sholto, the middle brother, is studious, scientific and skeptical. Different, but determined as well in the year while Dirk has been gone he has turned 18. Sholto is among the second group to go. Two years later when neither has returned, Rye and his mother move to the Keep because they need the Warden’s protection and support to survive.
Rye can’t bear this life and determines to find his brothers and bring them home. He too accepts the terms of the quest, though he does not meet them, and is off, but not before one of The Keep orphans begs to join him. Rye and Sonia begin their journey. Readers quickly know that though Rye has deceived the Warden by saying he is 18, he has not broken any of the terms of the quest. He has not going to destroy the skimmers and has no desire to become leader. He has gone to make his family whole again. Sonia, too does not meet the terms of the quest, but she is determined to make Weld safe once more. Readers also know that Rye and Sonia are part of something much larger than they realize. It seems that Rye is “the one” who will set things right, but what they are and how that will be done is a mystery. You’ll be eagerly turning page after page to find out why Rye has been chosen, what he will do to fulfill his destiny and how Sonia fit in.
This is the first in a trilogy. What is exciting as a reader is knowing I will have to wait to the very last page of the last book in order to find the complete answer to my questions and fully understand the magic and mystery that surrounds Rye, Sonia and Weld.