3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
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.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon