Official Review: Fairalon by T.J. Roberts

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Official Review: Fairalon by T.J. Roberts

Post by kandscreeley » 01 Aug 2019, 09:09

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Fairalon" by T.J. Roberts.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Iris isn't your average girl. After her mother died, she started doing some odd things to calm herself down - closing doors three times, turning on and off lights three times, etc. The hair on her arms also stands on end and usually indicates something odd is about to happen. Her father takes care of her the best he can, but he doesn't always believe Iris and what she sees.

Iris's life is about to get even more interesting, though, as her grandmother has just died and left her the house. Her grandmother's only stipulation is that Iris must live there now with her father. Her grandmother claimed to be a fairy, though, and Iris wonders if she inherited some of her grandmother's craziness. On the way to inhabit the new dwelling, Iris sees a young boy on a swing vanish. Her father, of course, thinks it was a trick of her imagination. Iris knows differently, though, especially when the police come looking for the missing young boy. Will Iris solve the mystery of his disappearance? Was her grandmother actually crazy, why did she leave her the house, and is Iris following in her footsteps?

Fairalon is a middle grades adventure story that contains around 270 pages. It's a chapter book that also features illustrations. While there is a sprinkling of profanity, there is no graphic violence or other explicit content, which makes the book appropriate for grades 4 to 6 (though I enjoyed the story as an adult, too).

Iris is a great protagonist for children because she doesn't quite fit in with her peers. She teaches kids that it's okay to be different, which is a fabulous message that our children need to hear. She learns that she's unique in a good way and that other kids' opinions aren't always right (and subsequently don't matter). It was fun to see her progress from wondering if she was nuts to embracing her eccentricities. We could all learn from Iris.

The pictures that were included along with the novel seemed to be computer-generated. That didn't subtract from their quality, as they were quite well done. The images are evenly placed throughout the novel and go right along with the story. It made a great addition to the novel, and it would be a good transition for children from picture books to chapter books.

This book is part fantasy, and it was a great introduction to the fantasy genre for children that probably haven't read much of it before. There were elves, goblins, fairies, and magic. The world was detailed enough to get a picture of it, but it wouldn't be overwhelming to those new to the genre. I did wonder, though, if the use of any profanity was warranted for a middle grades book. It was unnecessary and would appeal to a broader range of children without such. Without the swearing, I could see the text being read aloud in an elementary classroom setting.

The one drawback to the book was the errors that I found. The vast majority of these were missing or extra quotation marks. The author often forgot to insert the opening quote after the words "he said" when the character resumes the dialogue. These were minor and didn't detract from the story, but they were frequent enough to make me question if this was professionally edited.

One last point worth noting. The novel, while brought to a satisfactory conclusion, does drop a few hints that there may be more books in this series. I couldn't find evidence of a sequel, but one would certainly be welcome. I greatly appreciated that the author wraps up the plot arcs and still manages to hint that there is more to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Fairalon; T.J. Roberts is a talented author, and I would search him out to read more of his works. Due to the errors, though, I can only give Fairalon 3 out of 4 stars. If there were a few more quotation marks, I would gladly change my score to a perfect rating. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys a simple, yet magical, fantasy novel, whether you are 11 or 81.

******
Fairalon
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Post by DD129 » 03 Aug 2019, 09:20

It sounds like a well-written book! Just enough fantasy elements to give readers new to the genre a feel for it. The author really knew their audience! It’s unfortunate that there were too many mistakes to give the book a perfect rating, but good review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 03 Aug 2019, 09:27

DD129 wrote:
03 Aug 2019, 09:20
It sounds like a well-written book! Just enough fantasy elements to give readers new to the genre a feel for it. The author really knew their audience! It’s unfortunate that there were too many mistakes to give the book a perfect rating, but good review!
It was a cute story with a great protagonist. I enjoyed reading it immensely. Thanks!
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Post by kadinkins14 » 03 Aug 2019, 09:52

You've convinced me that this would be something that I would enjoy reading. I thought it may be geared to a younger audience but it seems as if an older reader would enjoy the mystery and fantasy here as well. Thank you for your review!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 03 Aug 2019, 15:30

This sounds like a fun introduction to fantasy. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Post by kandscreeley » 03 Aug 2019, 16:42

kadinkins14 wrote:
03 Aug 2019, 09:52
You've convinced me that this would be something that I would enjoy reading. I thought it may be geared to a younger audience but it seems as if an older reader would enjoy the mystery and fantasy here as well. Thank you for your review!
Let's put it this way. If you're looking for a really complex fantasy with tons of characters, this probably wouldn't be for you. But I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book.
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Post by kandscreeley » 03 Aug 2019, 16:42

Cecilia_L wrote:
03 Aug 2019, 15:30
This sounds like a fun introduction to fantasy. Thanks for the recommendation.
It was. It would be a perfect book for middle grades children.
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Post by kdstrack » 03 Aug 2019, 21:37

This does sound like a good transitional book for young readers. I like the fantasy elements but question the author's need to include profanity at this level. I enjoyed the way you created suspense around Iris's dilemma. Great writing!

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Post by Miriam Molina » 04 Aug 2019, 01:53

I'm certainly within the recommended age range for this one! I also don't get the profanity, though. Maybe the author can cut on those when he puts in the quote marks.

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Post by Prisallen » 04 Aug 2019, 06:43

This does sound like a fun book to read. I agree, though, that the profanity is not needed and will lower the number of children who will be reading the book. Thanks for a wonderful review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Aug 2019, 09:00

kdstrack wrote:
03 Aug 2019, 21:37
This does sound like a good transitional book for young readers. I like the fantasy elements but question the author's need to include profanity at this level. I enjoyed the way you created suspense around Iris's dilemma. Great writing!
I agree about the profanity. It wasn't used much, but why use it at all at this level? It was unnecessary. Still, it was a fun read. Thanks!
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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Aug 2019, 09:02

Miriam Molina wrote:
04 Aug 2019, 01:53
I'm certainly within the recommended age range for this one! I also don't get the profanity, though. Maybe the author can cut on those when he puts in the quote marks.
I do think that would be best. It would work great as a read aloud in a classroom setting without that. However, it would take a few days to read that way. Thanks!
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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Aug 2019, 09:03

Prisallen wrote:
04 Aug 2019, 06:43
This does sound like a fun book to read. I agree, though, that the profanity is not needed and will lower the number of children who will be reading the book. Thanks for a wonderful review!
It's such a fun book! There's definitely no need for a young girl like Iris to swear. Thanks for stopping by.
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 04 Aug 2019, 09:31

While it is too bad about the errors in the book, I really like that the author was able to create a strong protagonist that was also flawed, which enables young readers to relate to her. From the sounds of it, I suspect that the young girl grappled with OCD. As always, great review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Aug 2019, 10:04

Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
04 Aug 2019, 09:31
While it is too bad about the errors in the book, I really like that the author was able to create a strong protagonist that was also flawed, which enables young readers to relate to her. From the sounds of it, I suspect that the young girl grappled with OCD. As always, great review!
Yes! It definitely sounded like OCD to me, too. I love that, as you don't see that much with main characters in children's or young adult books. It made the story that much more poignant!
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