Official Review: Mysteries of Brettenwood by David Blank

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CataclysmicKnight
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Official Review: Mysteries of Brettenwood by David Blank

Post by CataclysmicKnight » 01 Apr 2016, 00:28

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Mysteries of Brettenwood" by David Blank.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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I'm not gonna lie, I have zero shame in admitting that YA fantasy is my favorite genre of books. I can't pinpoint why exactly, whether it's the kids that end up in situations most adults would cower from, the ease of reading or the adventures and mystery they stumble across, it can be so amazing when done well. Luckily, as you'll read in the following paragraphs, Mysteries of Brettenwood by David Blank definitely falls into the "awesome" camp of YA fantasy.

Erik is a preteen boy living in a small town called Candlewood, a settlement in a fictional new world (much like the colonization of the Americas, except with magic and crazy beasts and stuff!). Erik lives right at the edge of Brettenwood Forest, a mysterious, dark forest where an evil witch is said to live, and where none dare venture. Erik, however, has always felt curious about the forest, and one night he notices what seems like a giant wolf lurking near his house out his window. It isn't much later that an old woman comes out of the forest with some of these shadowy beasts, and when Erik tracks where they were looking the next morning he discovers a mysterious artifact - what seems like a glass carving of a mountain, but it's so cold that even through his shirt he can feel the chill. Stealing from her was as foolish as you might imagine, however, as she soon comes for it in his sleep and curses him as punishment. Erik must discover how to cure himself of a sickness that's rapidly turning him into a creature of darkness while stumbling into other trouble on the way!

Mysteries of Brettenwood definitely lives up to its name - aside from the initial mystery of the forest, mysteries abound everywhere. The level of descriptiveness walks that fine line of being intriguing and making you feel like you're there without giving useless information or becoming boring. In doing so, the book blends hope-crushing fear with a sense of adventure extremely well, and no one is ever safe. While the book has a few creepy scenes (like one that involved giant spiders!), there's no gore or real violence and the book is certainly fine for teenagers.

The cover of the book features a boy and a girl, and it's one of the coolest things the book does - while each of the three "parts" of the book begins with a few pages of setup that explain one of the main things in that part, the majority of the book is first person from Erik's point of view. The second part, however, switches to his friend Kristina's point of view, and the shift happens in a way that even feels slightly different to read. It's obvious it's the same author, and it's not the least bit disruptive, it's just enough to feel the shift back instinctively when it returns to Erik in part 3. Kristina isn't the typical "smart but weak" or "whiny brat" girl, either - while she does get scared, she's also often the one to push Erik or her cousins to toughen up and get through rough situations together. Being able to see Erik and Kristina interact with each other is really interesting because of this as well, Erik is quiet and withdrawn about his affliction and what's happening to him while Kristina just wants to know what's going on and help him through it.

Despite a fair number of grammatical errors, many of which occur close together, and a somewhat rough drop in pace between parts one and two of the book, I'd absolutely recommend Mysteries of Brettenwood to anyone who enjoys fantasy that isn't completely serious, and rate it 4 out of 4 stars without hesitation. The book had a good amount of humor that never once felt forced, and the descriptiveness, tense situations and exploration aspects were top notch. This was a page turner from the absolute beginning, and while it leaves itself open to the possibilities of a sequel it stands alone as well. In fact, there was a point in the last part of the book where I felt this might be a part one in a series, and for the first time in a long time I WANTED it to be!

******
Mysteries of Brettenwood
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Post by hsimone » 04 Apr 2016, 15:30

This sounds like an extremely fun read! I like YA fantasy, as well. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much so that you looked over the grammatical errors. Must have had a very captivating plot!
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Post by CataclysmicKnight » 05 Apr 2016, 22:38

It absolutely did, and I think just as importantly the characters were done well. Good characters can take a reader anywhere :D
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Post by hsimone » 06 Apr 2016, 00:13

Seems like a fun read for Halloween! Hope Erik can find the cure for the curse the witch placed on him! It's great to know that the descriptions here were done well and that there's a good blend of fear and adventure. I like books that do well in providing multiple perspectives, and I'm glad that's the case here. Too bad about the number of grammatical errors and the pacing issues, but I'm glad that you were able to enjoy the read regardless! Thank you for sharing!
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Post by bookowlie » 06 Apr 2016, 14:26

Excellent review! I had considered choosing this review book last week and now I wish I did! I like your point that the level of description is high without crossing the line into useless and boring info. Too many authors cross that line in an attempt to create a vivid setting.
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Post by MatthewAlexander » 18 Apr 2016, 09:07

This sounds like a great book; I love YA fantasy as well. I'm glad the grammatical errors didn't ruin it. Great review!
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Post by CataclysmicKnight » 08 May 2016, 13:51

bookowlie wrote:Excellent review! I had considered choosing this review book last week and now I wish I did! I like your point that the level of description is high without crossing the line into useless and boring info. Too many authors cross that line in an attempt to create a vivid setting.
Exactly! I hate when a book gets needlessly descriptive, but I also hate when a book gives hardly any detail at all and relies entirely on filling the gaps the book leaves behind. There's a very delicate balance and it should be applauded when it's maintained!
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Post by Vermont Reviews » 30 Aug 2016, 21:03

I liked your review. I recently received a copy to review.

Mysteries of Brettenwood
By David Blank

This story starts out with Erik Christian’s friends Marty and Danny convincing Erik to do their homework for them. Kristina Glynnis doesn’t like that his friends are always doing this to Erik. Erik and Kristina were next door neighbors. One of my favorite lines from the story. “Sometimes, when the wind picked up, the branches would sway as if urging me to come in, to see what lay beyond and discover its secret for myself.” Erik was curious about what he had seen. He ventured into the woods to see if he could see the woman or the animals. Erik discovers a black piece of glass shaped like a mountain with incredible details. The old wizard of the forest who had died. It was said he practiced evil magic, and cast spells and curses. People also said that he kidnapped children from Candlewood for his vicious experiments. What mysteries await discovery in Brettenwood Forest? The Candlewood Fall Festival was soon to start when Mrs. Bronte’s Antique Shop was broken into. The only thing missing was a crystal ball.

My favorite character of the story was Quincey Holmwood an explorer who had been deep into the forest and made it back and lived to talk about it.

When the black glass mountain that Erik found goes missing, Erik starts to experience strange happenings. When Erik gets lost in Brettenwood Forest, Quincey Holmwood rescues him. Another of my favorite lines. “No one took the time to explore the forest, so of course there would be secrets waiting that proved everyone wrong. There could have been dozens more throughout the woods for all anyone knew.” And one more. “What I heard next I’ll never forget. While we spoke, a low moaning wail, like something crying in pain came from somewhere close, followed by another, then another. Each of them slowly rose in pitch. The higher they got, the more my blood ran cold.”

Both Erik and Mr. Holmwood meet up with the witch. Mr. Holmwood disappears in a cloud of red smoke.

David Blank is a master storyteller and his book Mysteries of Brettenwood shows the reader a tale that will stay with you a long time after you finish the book. In the story you’ll find ghouls, massive spiders, vampires, mountain wyrms, swap ogres, pixies, and dryads, and other creatures of the night.

A fun read that I rated a solid 5 stars. I would love to read more works by David Blank.
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Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 18 Oct 2018, 06:56

Elements of both fairy tales and Victorian Gothic Horror make for an engaging read. Thanks for the enlightening review.

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Post by gali » 18 Oct 2018, 06:58

I love YA fantasy too! A fantasy revolving around a haunted forest, evil force, and other adventures sounds good. That the author doesn't give useless information is to his credit. Blending fear with a sense of adventure is another plus. Too bad about the slow pace and grammatical errors, though. Thank you for the review!
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Post by Mmg8464 » 18 Oct 2018, 07:16

This sounds like a cute and captivating story. I like YA as well but not so much the dark or horror part but your review make it seem like fun. Thanks for your review!

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Post by Ferdinand_otieno » 18 Oct 2018, 07:18

This is an incredible young-adult fantasy novel with a captivating plot and unique character development that kept me reading the book non-stop. The onlinebookclub review was written superbly and i rated the book 4 out of 4 stars. Congrats on being the BOTD.

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Post by sonya01 » 18 Oct 2018, 07:23

Your review was really fun to read - if this book is anything like it, surely it's a winner! Haven't delved much into YA books yet, but there's always a first time. Many thanks for your comments.

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Post by Farmgurl1 » 18 Oct 2018, 07:25

Based on the review, I don't think this is a book I'll read. I'm not really into the YA fantasy genre and it sounds like the book gets slow at times. Although I do like the dark horror piece, so it may be worth a read.

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Post by desantismt_17 » 18 Oct 2018, 07:35

I also love ya fantasy when it's good, and this sounds fantastic! Looking forward to giving this a try. Thanks for your review!
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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