4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Young Case Connor seems to have the “trouble with authority gene.” Accused of criminal activity in a game shop, he recounts to his guardian how he saw people transform into monsters. This earns him an unfortunate trip to Camp Bundai, a medieval reform site in Australia for troubled youth. After surviving a plane crash, he and the other passengers journey through the remote and harsh climate with limited supplies to reach the camp. They soon realize that the camp is filled with mystical symbols, strange creatures, and unrelenting guards. Additionally, they find that all of the campers have one thing in common. Case must learn to navigate his new reality if he is to survive the barbarous Camp Bundai.
The best feature of Case Connor and the Trials of Sand and Fire is the descriptive writing style of author George Lamore. As the boys adjust to their new surroundings, they fall into their respective social roles, and the characters of the campers are revealed as the plot unfolds. The bullies, the chickens, the slackers, and the leaders can all be found here and are described implicitly throughout the narration. There is also an appreciation and reverent respect for nature that is chronicled for readers; phrases such as the boys’ “snoring mingling discordantly with the myriad of insects singing to the moon” give appealing sensory details that bring the story to life and give it depth.
The narrative is told through the eyes of an American teenager, and its focus and tone reflect the youthful protagonist. There is a clear adolescent-tinted perspective that can be felt through phrases such as “the mother of all freaking arachnids” and “level ten black belt in badassery.” This perceptive choice of words highlights his youth, adds a sprinkling of humor to the book, and makes the characters realistic and believable. These phrases sound exactly how a boy that age would speak.
There is nothing I dislike about the book. The editing seems professional, with hardly any errors. From the beginning, the writing is a pleasing balance of action and character introspect. For the descriptive language and focus described above, I give the book 4 out of 4 stars. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think that this could easily be made into a movie for youngsters.
I recommend this book to all readers. Its lack of profanity and straightforward writing style make it appropriate for all audiences. It would be most suitable for readers in middle or high school, as they will relate to the interests and feelings of the protagonist and secondary characters. The book spans a few genres: a little fantasy, a little realistic fiction, a little mystery, and a whole lot of action. Overall, this is an engaging read that many young readers will enjoy.
Case Connor and The Trials Of Sand and Fire
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon