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The Quest for Merlin's Map (The Jumper Chronicles): 10/16/10
The Quest for Merlin's Map by W. C. Peever is the first of the Jumper Chronicles. It takes two traditional story types: the magical boarding school and the Arthurian legends and blends them together into something refreshingly new.
Twelve year old best friends Charlie Burrows and Bailey Relling are visited by a mysterious man who warns them that they are in grave danger. He can offer them protection and an education to help them hone their awakening magical powers. They are taken by QILT (Quick Instant Light Travel) to Thornfield school (appropriately inside an old castle) where the mysterious Lord Grayson is headmaster.
Quickly Charlie and Bailey learn their part in a history of magic that goes all the way back to Merlin. What fascinated me most about the book was Peever's take on the Arthurian legends. Arthur is so typically a tragic hero, a well meaning boy who is ultimately overwhelmed by the enormity of his role as king, tied magically to his kingdom and his land. Not here. No. Arthur is a very different sort of leader and quite frightening.
Whenever I've described the book, I've been asked if it's like Harry Potter. Yes but I liked this book better. Although Charlie is from a family affected by the last round of attacks, he still has his mother and he's part of a loving extended family, with Bailey being part of that support. Harry's under the stairs experience was contrived to make Hogwarts seem all the more special, when it is in fact, a poorly run and dysfunctional school.
So when I'm asked to compare The Quest for Merlin's Map to other books, I usually go with Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci books with a little bit of Jasper Fforde worked in.
Now that's not to say the book is perfect. There is a lot of exposition to wade through early on. It's interesting but it does put a pause on the action.
I received the book for review.
Comment #1: Monday, October, 18, 2010 at 01:21:16
This looks good - I like books like this.
Comment #2: Monday, October 25, 2010 at 22:05:12
It was good. Happy reading.