The Eyes of the Desert Sand by Edwin WolfeAuthor: Edwin Wolfe. Website, Twitter
Published: 6 June 2012 (Aauvi House Publishing Group)
Book Depository: hardback
Source: Received free copy from author to review.
Plot Summary (from Waterstone's):
How many parents would believe their thirteen year old son who told them that two vampires and a hooded stranger had tried to abduct him? Strange thing is, young Ethan Fox is convinced his parents, George and Betsy do believe him. Could it have something to do with the mysterious poem he wrote in his sleep? Or maybe it has something to do with his past, the past he cannot remember before his eighth birthday. Something strange is afoot, and it is about to turn Ethan's world upside down.
I was offered the chance to receive a free review copy of this book, and after reading a bit about it (it was described as Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland) I thought it sounded like my kind of book. The story follows Ethan Fox who finds himself in a secret magical land where he meets the Caretakers, a race of people who protect and control the Earth's species. Along with Haley, a girl he mysteriously meets before he uncovers the hidden land, they discover their new surroundings and learn more about both of their pasts.
The first thing to say about this book is that it takes place in such a fabulous world. I really enjoyed the imaginative places and creations that pop up in this book, from books that are really portals, to the magical creatures. The writing style really drew me in and the combination of fantasy, mythology and fairy tale (there's a beanstalk and vampires) made for a really intriguing world.
Where the book started to disappoint me was the characters. The book is written in third person, and over the course of the story, we get very little insight to Ethan, the supposed main character. I think it could have benefited from being written in first person so that we got to get inside Ethan's head as he entered this magical world. As it was, I struggled to connect with him. He didn't seem to show much emotion (he's separated from his parents early on in the book and I didn't get the feeling he missed them at all) and too much of the narrative was dedicated to describing the things that went on around him, as opposed to what he thought of it all.
It seemed this book was definitely setting up the world it takes place in (it's the first book in a planned series) and sometimes the plot suffered a little. I loved all the descriptions of the new locations and magical discoveries but it became more about that then the actual plot at times. It came together at the end, though. I would definitely check out the next book in the series because I think the world has so much potential, and there was a cliffhanger ending that left me wanting to know more!
Fans of fantasy and fairy tales should love this book.
What to read next: The as yet untitled, unreleased 2nd book in the Chrysalis Chronicles.
Books like this: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.