3 out of 4 stars
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Balance. A world needs balance for it to maintain structure. But, what happens when there are two worlds? The balance, then, is even more precious and more vulnerable.
In The Seventh Seal, by A.J. Dobbs, there is a land called Thera. Within this land, there the Seven Keepers, who ultimately work together to ensure that Earth and its alternate planet, Arthe, are balanced. When word gets out that the conniving, Odling Smee, wants to offset the balance, the Seventh Seal Keeper, Michael Stone, seeks this man out to be rid of him once and for all. However, Smee is always one step ahead of everyone, and Michael is unable to follow through. Though Smee is captured, Michael does not desire the same fate for his son, Daniel. Therefore, he throws his prized and signature Seal, the mark of a Keeper, into the bottom of a lake before his untimely death.
Years later, an unfortunate event takes place and Smee is on the run again. Untold secrets begin to unfold for fifteen-year-old Daniel. The confused teenager is thrown into a world that he never knew existed and the reason for his father’s death. Now, as the power of the Seven Keepers are restored, their mission is to stop Smee from stealing not only their Seals, but a very powerful and dangerous mechanism called the Arcanum. The powers of the Seals and the Arcanum is too great to mess with. There is no telling what damage this untrustworthy man can do.
In this young adult read, I was captivated within the first few pages. The author cleverly creates a new world, which ties this fantasy read with science fiction. It is told through a narration; one main character tells the story through his eyes, but is also able to relay what happens to other characters. Themes of loyalty, responsibility, working together, and friendship is woven into this tale.
The protagonists are likable, and even the antagonist, Smee, I did not dislike. Dobbs gives the reader some background of Smee to describe why he is the way he is, so that perhaps helps with my acceptance of him as the villain. As a side note, I love the tie-in of a telepathic dog named Geddy. He is adorable!
There are some aspects that I would like to see be developed a bit more. For one, the planet Arthe is hard to picture and its correlation with Earth. Also, most of the Keepers are one-dimensional. It is difficult to distinguish one from the other, especially, since most of them do not have big speaking roles. I also feel that some scenes were rushed. For instance, when Daniel accepts his role as a Keeper, there isn't much discussion of his training before he is thrown into a fight. It is presented as the Keepers need to rush to train him, but that the fighting would come naturally, which is a bit contradictory.
The Seventh Seal is a first in a series, so perhaps some of the questions and concerns will be further explored in its sequel. Even with a bit more room to grow, I found this read very enjoyable. Therefore, I give this book a 3 out of 4 stars rating. I would recommend this read to both young adults and adults who like a fun mix between fantasy and science fiction.
The Seventh Seal
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