3 out of 4 stars
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Don’t be afraid to enter into the mystical land of Manasakd. When its power summons you, you may be disoriented and confused, but do not worry. Manasakd is a place of peace and tranquility where you will discover your gift and your spirit animal. A mentor will show you how to navigate the exotic land and find your place among the other gifted mentees in your class. Are you ready to discover who you are in the realm of Manasakd?
Manasakd, by Kelly May Andrews, is a young adult novel that explores the fictional land where the imagination runs wild. The main characters tell the story from their first-person points of view. The name of the person sharing the story is always indicated at the beginning of a new chapter. Still, a majority of the story follows Tali, a ten-year-old girl known as a legend throughout all the lands of Manasakd.
The first person Tali appeared to has earned the privilege to mentor the young legend. But who saw Tali first? The veterans of Manasakd are eager to claim her as their own for the perks of training a powerful being. A series of mysterious events keeps the plot rolling at a steady pace, and the end culminates in a trial to determine the identity of Tali’s true mentor. A few unanswered questions leave room for further installments in the series, and I eagerly hope to see more, as the book felt like an introduction to a vast world of possibilities and future stories.
What I liked most about this novel is the creativity of the author. Andrews has crafted an extensive system of different types of power, including Mystic, Intellectual, Visionary, Storm, Empath, and Healer. This first novel serves as a sort of orientation of the different classes of power, the rules of Manasakd, and an essential guide to the various aspects of the land. We get to learn about and explore the realms along with Tali as she makes her first few journeys through the mythic land.
The thing I liked least was some of the attitudes the characters had toward the adults in authority. One particular character, named Gunn, was repeatedly disrespectful towards the leader of Manasakd as well as his mentor. There was also some mild swearing, which did not bother me as an adult but made me cautious about recommending it to children even though it was otherwise appropriate for a younger audience.
Unfortunately, there were also quite a few editing issues with the copy I received—several typos and punctuation errors, but also a few inconsistencies with the spelling of character names. Therefore, I gave the book a 3 out of 4. A fun and engaging read for a young audience, this book may also appeal to readers who love magic and creativity. The book deals with controlling your emotions and discovering your gifts. There is some mild swearing, but no sexual content. One scene included a mountain lion killing another animal, but it was not graphic or detailed.
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